The criticality of minerals can also be discussed and assessed in the context of the climate transition. The technologies required to enable a low-carbon transition will require more of these raw materials than their carbon-intensive counterparts. For instance, producing an electric car requires six times more raw materials than a conventional vehicle, and an onshore wind plant demands nine times more minerals than a gas-fired power plant.
The necessary scaling-up of relevant technologies, including solar panels and supportive grid infrastructure, will cause significant demand for, and dependency on, a variety of materials, including copper, lithium, nickel, cobalt and rare earth elements (REEs). These materials are set to rival the role formerly played by fossil fuels. They have been labelled ‘transition-critical materials’ (TCMs), as they will have to serve as critical inputs for the low-carbon technologies needed to bring about the energy transition required for the world to reach net zero emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.
Pensana plc (LON:PRE) explores and mines neodymium, praseodymium, and rare earth minerals. The Company’s flagship assets are the Saltend rare earth refinery project in the United Kingdom and Longonjo neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr) Project in Angola.