circular economy

9 June, 2022

Source: Process and Control

The Guardian recently announced that the deep-sea gold rush for rare metals has officially begun, with mining companies planning to profit from rare earths discovered 4,000 metres below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. However, with millions of tons of e-waste produced every year and increasingly sophisticated techniques to recover rare metals from it, a more environmentally-friendly alternative might be hiding in plain sight. Neil Ballinger, head of EMEA at automation parts supplier EU Automation, explains the role of reconditioned components in reducing our dependence on mining rare earths.

Continue reading The hidden treasure: Reducing rare earths consumption with reconditioned components

31 May, 2022

Source: New Security Beat

Author: David Michel

In practice, seabed mining could prove neither economically viable nor environmentally sustainable. Economically, long-term demands for critical minerals are highly uncertain, depending upon rapidly evolving technology pathways, and could largely be met from existing global terrestrial reserves. Emerging innovations, such as battery technologies requiring fewer critical minerals, and circular economy models recycling raw materials, suggest the green transition can be realized without mining the seabed.

Environmentally, DSM poses considerable risks. Mining impacts could spread over hundreds of thousands of km2 of the ocean, devastating fragile marine fauna, damaging important habitat, and discharging harmful wastes. Especially worrisomely, DSM could stir up seafloor carbon sediments, releasing CO2 that could exacerbate ocean acidification and add to climate warming. DSM operations could also conflict with established environmental and economic assets including fisheries, marine protected areas, shipping lanes, and submarine cables and telecoms terminals. Yet very little of the deep ocean has been studied, leaving large knowledge gaps and scant baseline data from which to build meaningful impact assessments or effective management policies.

Developing DSM could also spawn new geopolitical tensions as major powers jockey to control seabed resources. Some analysts, for example, argue that China’s claims to the South China Sea reflect in part Beijing’s ambitions to assert sovereignty over the mineral deposits under those contested waters. Similarly, seabed minerals may help explain Chinese overtures to several Pacific island states, at times discomfiting nations that consider the region their backyard. China’s neighbors likewise worry that Chinese DSM exploration in the Indo-Pacific furnishes Beijing with “dual use” knowledge—such as underwater surveillance and topographical mapping—that could be adapted to military advantage. Mining activities, in turn, could be used to justify greater Chinese naval presence in the region.

Rather than the springboard for an incipient resource bonanza or impending great power confrontation, DSM now appears clouded in economic, environmental, and regulatory uncertainty. Whether and how any deep sea mineral gold rush will pan out, if at all, remains to be seen.

Achieving the green energy transition and averting the climate crisis will require critical minerals. Acquiring these minerals by DSM would entail trade-offs between the social and environmental benefits of the technologies they enable and the social and environmental risks of extracting resources from the ocean floor. At present, the international community possesses neither sufficient knowledge of the deep ocean environment to accurately assess those trade-offs nor adequate regulatory and institutional frameworks to manage mining the seabed. The world should not pursue DSM without them.

Read the full article here.

31 May, 2022

Source: Bloomberg

Author: Ragini Saxena

Proponents of deep-sea mining claim that the minerals of the deep are needed for the green transition, to supply the components of electric vehicle batteries, for example. But a new generation of batteries that either reuses these metals – or does not use them at all – is already entering the market. Innovation in metals recycling and battery design will reduce the demand for virgin minerals.

Continue reading India’s Attero to Spend $1 Billion on Battery Recycling Plants

28 April, 2022

Source: abc7 News

Author: Juan Carlos Guerrero

While zero-emission vehicles are being touted as one solution to our climate crisis, their batteries could also represent an environmental hazard. There’s concern about mining for minerals like cobalt, copper, manganese and nickel that are used in car batteries on the ocean floor. These minerals are found in abundance along a zone that spans from Hawaii to Mexico. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is co-sponsoring legislation to prohibit leases for mining within three miles of the California coast. It’s hoping that inspires bans further into the deep ocean.

Continue reading How eco-friendly are electric vehicles? It all depends on the battery

28 April, 2022

Source: ISS Insights

As the energy transition gathers pace around the globe, clean energy technologies are becoming the fastest-growing segment of demand for critical minerals. This essentially concerns electricity and heat generation, energy storage, mobility, and power grids. Solar panels, wind turbines, and electric vehicles commonly contain more minerals and rare earth elements than their fossil fuel-based counterparts.

Continue reading The Circular Economy: A boon for Biodiversity Conservation?

17 February, 2022

Source: Forbes

Author: Alan Ohnsman

Redwood Materials, a battery recycler created by Tesla cofounder JB Straubel, plans to collect used electric and hybrid vehicle packs from Ford and Volvo Cars in California, making rechargeable cars and trucks more sustainable by reusing valuable mined materials they use.

Continue reading California EV battery recycling program aims to recycle and reuse rather than extract

1 January, 2019

Author: Kay Vandette

2018 has been the year of rollbacks, and the Trump administration has not been subtle about its stance on pushing for fossil fuel use and mining. As the demand for minerals, oils, and natural gas continues to increase, we have to dig deeper and set up more mining operations to fulfill that demand.

There are some major decisions regarding seabed mining expected in the coming year which could open up a gold-rush-like frenzy to set up deep-sea mining operations.

Continue reading Deep-sea mining could damage delicate deep-sea ecosystems