While a simple search for electrification content will bring up hundreds of sleek photos of vehicles, futuristic cityscapes, and gadgets, the truth of the matter is that all this infrastructure still needs to be built. And to do that, metals and minerals need to be dug up and refined. Despite the pressure placed upon it, the mining and metals industry will be a vital part of the process of electrification. A new facility in Texas is just one such indicator.
Why is the mining industry the key to escaping fossil fuels?
Electrification does sound fairly simple on paper, power generated from fossil fuels is simply replaced with green power. But the need for electric vehicles will also necessitate more charging stations, exponentially more batteries, and other, new bits and pieces. The demand for metals and minerals is predicted to not only keep growing but potentially double or even triple in the near future. This means that most mining companies have a golden opportunity to ensure a steady and lucrative stream of income for the near future and beyond.
It’s important to point out that mining isn’t just set to benefit from the Green Energy Revolution, it is absolutely necessary for it. Electric vehicles and hydrogen power plants will not be the only things competing for these metals and minerals, most major electronics producers will still be maintaining production. So it is vital for the industry to scale up its extraction of these resources so the world can switch to green energy in a timely manner.
What is the significance of a new lithium refinery?
Besides helping create the capacity to build over a million new EVs a year, the Tesla Texas lithium refinery is a clear signal that large companies are starting to prepare for a full transition away from fossil fuels. This should be a signal to the mining industry that the world will need all the valuable metals and minerals it can provide.
Elon Musk himself commented “As we look ahead a few years, a fundamental choke point in the advancement of electric vehicles is the availability of battery grade lithium,” hence the decision to build a massive new facility. “We intend to continue to use suppliers of lithium, so it’s not that Tesla will do all of it,” Musk said.
What does the mining industry need to keep in mind?
First and foremost, the metals and mineral extraction industry is likely to reap the benefits of electrification. Surges in both long-term and short-term demand will keep prices high. More and more manufacturers are likely to seek long-term supply contracts, which should bring a stable, regular income. As mining itself undergoes electrification, the industry will benefit from advancements in technology. Equipment and energy costs will decrease as the supply grows. The transition to clean energy should also be seen as an opportunity that should not be missed. Mining operations working with the metals vital for electrification need to have roadmaps for how to increase yields. Companies must prepare their logistics chains for increased global demand.
And if you are interested, consider joining the 3rd Energy Transition and Emission Reduction for the Metals and Mining Industry, from May 31st to June 2nd to learn more. Visit future-bridge.eu or mining-events.com and follow us on our social media to keep track of other events about sustainability in the mining and metals industry.