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The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vulnerability of global supply chains, including those of critical minerals essential for a number of clean energy technologies, while the world needs reliable supplies of lithium, cobalt, nickel, copper, platinum, and rare earths, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in an analysis this week.
The pandemic and the unprecedented lockdowns in many countries around the world have led to significant declines in the mining activities of critical minerals. Copper mining in Peru—accounting for 12 percent of global copper production—ground to a halt in the lockdown, while platinum production in South Africa was also disrupted. The lockdown in South Africa disrupted much as 75 percent of global platinum production, the IEA said.
“Although prices for many important minerals have fallen as global demand has slumped, recent developments have highlighted a number of reasons why the world should not take secure supplies for granted,” the Paris-based agency said.
The COVID-19 pandemic “has underscored the need to monitor the security of minerals supply for a clean energy future,” the IEA noted.
Demand for critical minerals is expected to boom in the coming years due to the increase of clean energy technologies and solutions, according to the agency.
“And support for battery and electrolyser manufacturing is also a strategic opportunity for governments to ensure that their industries come out of the Covid-19 crisis stronger than before, ready to supply future domestic and international growth markets and able to anticipate potential bottlenecks in technologies,” the IEA said.
“Lithium-ion batteries & hydrogen electrolysers are ready for the BIG time. They have many things in common & are well suited to mass manufacturing. Putting them in recovery plans can push their costs down & make them cornerstones of modern energy systems,” the IEA’s Executive Director Fatih Birol said on Sunday.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.