IEA holds summit on critical minerals and clean energy
Approximately 50 countries from continents across the world – including large and emerging critical mineral producers and consumers – came together Sept. 28 with leaders from industry, investment and civil society at the first IEA Critical Minerals and Clean Energy Summit to share experiences and discuss effective courses of action on critical minerals to ensure rapid and secure energy transitions.
The first-of-its-kind international summit builds on the ministerial mandate given to the IEA in 2022 to further its work on critical minerals, the materials at the heart of key clean energy technologies such as wind turbines, electric vehicles and solar panels. The IEA has been asked by governments around the world to make recommendations on options to diversify supplies of critical minerals and clean energy technology manufacturing. To deliver on this, the IEA is creating a new Energy Security and Critical Minerals Division within its Secretariat dedicated to these issues.
“The level of over-concentration that we see in critical minerals markets today is unlike that for any other major commodity we have come to rely on in the modern world. History has shown us that failing to properly diversify supplies and trade routes of essential resources comes with profound risks,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “Locking in secure and sustainable supplies of critical minerals for the clean energy transition has quickly become a top priority for governments, companies and investors around the world. The IEA has been working on this issue for years and established a leadership role, as reflected by the broad and high-level participation in this Summit. With many stakeholders now asking how well prepared they are for this new reality, the IEA is expanding and deepening our work to help countries around the world develop robust and resilient clean energy supply chains.”
The first annual IEA Critical Minerals Market Review, released in July along with a new online data explorer, shows that record deployment of clean energy technologies is propelling huge demand for minerals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel and copper.
Devising new strategies to meet this new wave of demand was at the center of discussions among participants at the summit. Six key action areas were identified including: 1) accelerating progress towards diversified minerals supplies; 2) unlocking the power of technology and recycling; 3) promoting transparency in the markets; 4) enhancing the availability of reliable information; 5) creating incentives for sustainable and responsible production; and 6) strengthening efforts on international collaboration.
“Fostering inclusive dialogue must be at the forefront of the critical minerals agenda as we navigate this complex and multifaceted issue within the clean energy transition,” Birol said. “Through its analysis and data, it is the IEA’s mission to ensure that critical minerals become a symbol of international cooperation rather than resource anxiety.”
The summit has delivered key actions to ensure secure, sustainable and reliable supplies of critical minerals including:
- Accelerate progress towards diversified minerals supplies: To support countries’ climate and clean energy ambitions, it will be necessary to significantly increase supplies of many minerals and metals. Progress on diversifying supply sources has also been limited in recent years. Delegates agreed on the need to accelerate progress towards diversified and sustainable supplies of critical minerals. Beginning with the landmark 2021 report The Role of Critical Minerals in Clean Energy Transitions, the IEA has continuously shone a spotlight on the topic of critical minerals, with a particular focus on need to expand supply to support net zero goals while ensuring a diversified, secure marketplace.
- Unlock the power of technology and recycling
- Promote transparency in markets
- Enhance the availability of reliable information
- Create incentives for sustainable and responsible practices
- Foster international collaboration
Read more about the summit here
Image from IEA.