Successful delivery of the United Nations sustainable development goals and implementation of the Paris Agreement requires technologies that utilize a wide range of minerals in vast quantities. Metal recycling and technological change will contribute to sustaining supply, but mining must continue and grow for the foreseeable future to ensure that such minerals remain available to industry. New links are needed between existing institutional frameworks to oversee responsible sourcing of minerals, trajectories for mineral exploration, environmental practices, and consumer awareness of the effects of consumption. Here we present, through analysis of a comprehensive set of data and demand forecasts, an interdisciplinary perspective on how best to ensure ecologically viable continuity of global mineral supply over the coming decades.
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The authors are an interdisciplinary group, operating under the Resourcing Future Generations initiative of the International Union of Geological Sciences, the International Council for Science Unions and UNESCO. D. Nyanganyura of the International Council for Science and F. Masotti of Vale Corporation provided comments that led to this Perspective. S. Mohr of the University of Technology Sydney assisted with the model output results presented. Financial support provided by UNESCO, IUGS and ICSU, and logistical support provided by the Namibian Geological Survey, is acknowledged.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Reviewer Information Nature thanks J. Gutzmer, S. Kesler and B. Reck for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
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Ali, S., Giurco, D., Arndt, N. et al. Mineral supply for sustainable development requires resource governance. Nature 543, 367–372 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature21359
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