To realize a lower-carbon future, there will be a substantial increase in demand for several key strategic minerals and metals to manufacture cleaner energy technologies. Keeping this in perspective, the World Bank has announced a multi-donor trust fund called the Climate-Smart Mining Facility. The goal of this facility is to promote the sustainable extraction of minerals used in renewable energy technologies such as wind, solar and batteries for energy storage and electric vehicles.
The Climate-Smart Mining Facility will help resource-rich developing countries benefit from the increasing demand for minerals and metals while ensuring the mining sector is managed in a way that minimizes the environmental and climate footprint.
The World Bank plans to deploy a total investment of $50 million over 5 years. This facility is expected to focus on activities around four core themes: climate change mitigation; climate change adaptation; reducing material impacts and creating market opportunities, contributing to the decarbonization and reduction of material impacts along the supply chain of critical minerals needed for clean energy technologies.
In its The Growing Role of Minerals and Metals for a Low Carbon Future report, the World Bank found that there will be an exponential growth in demand for “strategic minerals” such as lithium, graphite, and nickel by 2050. Consequently, the report stated that without climate-smart mining practices, the negative impacts of mining activities would increase, affecting vulnerable communities and the environment.
The projects which the fund is expected to invest in:
- Supporting the integration of renewable energy into mining operations, given that the mining sector accounts for up to 11% of global energy use and that mining operations in remote areas often rely on diesel or coal
- Supporting the strategic use of geological data for a better understanding of “strategic mineral” endowments
- Forest-smart mining: preventing deforestation and supporting sustainable land-use practices; repurposing mine sites
- Recycling of minerals: supporting developing countries to take a circular economy approach and reuse minerals in a way that respects the environment
“The World Bank supports a low-carbon transition where mining is climate-smart and value chains are sustainable and green. Developing countries can play a leading role in this transition: developing strategic minerals in a way that respects communities, ecosystems and the environment. Countries with strategic minerals have a real opportunity to benefit from the global shift to clean energy,” said Riccardo Puliti, senior director and head of the energy and extractives global practice at the World Bank.
Recently, the World Bank established a new Efficient, Clean Cooling Program to accelerate the uptake of sustainable cooling solutions, including air conditioning, refrigeration and cold chain in developing countries.
The World Bank also approved an International Development Association (IDA) fund of $150 million and another $74.7 million contingent recovery grant from the Clean Technology Fund to help increase off-grid electricity access for people in West Africa and Sahel regions.