How might the mining industry play a key role in the transition toward a low-carbon future? Strategic Innovation Lab worked closely with Winnipeg-based International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) to investigate this question and develop pathways toward possible futures.
With lead facilitation and workshop design by Helen Kerr, Greg Van Alstyne, Michele Mastroeni and SFI MDes candidate Mathura Mahendren worked closely with IISD's Clare Church and Alec Crawford to conduct a futures workshop with stakeholders from industry and civil society.
The final report, Green Conflict Minerals: The fuels of conflict in the transition to a low-carbon economy, is available here and from the IISD website.
The report reveals that technologies required to facilitate the shift to a low-carbon future, including wind turbines, solar panels and improved energy storage, all require significant mineral and metal inputs and, absent any dramatic technological advances or an increase in the use of recycled materials, these inputs will come from the mining sector. How they are sourced will determine whether this transition supports peaceful, sustainable development in the countries where strategic reserves are found or reinforces weak governance and exacerbates local tensions and grievances.
Through extensive desk-based research, a mapping analysis, stakeholder consultations, case studies and an examination of existing mineral supply chain governance mechanisms, this report seeks to understand how the transition to a low-carbon economy—and the minerals and metals required to make that shift—could affect fragility, conflict and violence dynamics in mineral-rich states.
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For the minerals required to make the transition to a low-carbon economy, there are real risks of grievances, tensions and conflicts emerging or continuing around their extraction. In order to meet global goals around sustainable development and climate change mitigation, while contributing to lasting peace, the supply chains of these strategic minerals must be governed in a way that is responsible, accountable and transparent. Achieving this vision will require concerted action from civil society, the private sector and governments.