Show me your metal: Delivering a low-carbon future

25 October 2021


Sustainable Minerals Institute Director Professor Neville Plint outlines the transformation required for the mining industry to help deliver a
low-carbon future.

The findings in the sixth report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were very clear: the earth could be just 10 years away from heating by more than 1.5°C – a threshold beyond which even more serious and frequent fires, droughts, floods and cyclones are expected to wreak havoc on humanity.

As the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) gets underway in Glasgow on October 31, discussions on the need to reduce emissions and move to a low-carbon future will be key.

But the pathway from where we are now to the low-carbon economy of the future is not always clear. Just how do we power a growing world population that is hungry for data, resources and freedom from poverty?

While technology and innovation can provide solutions for decarbonising our lives, they require more metals and minerals than we currently have and, therefore, more mining. Thus, mining is essential to the delivery of a low-carbon economy, but a massive transformation is required for the industry to deliver in a sustainable way.

As Director of UQ’s Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI), I am privileged to work with experts whose aims are to understand the nature of this transformation and to develop the necessary tools and solutions for the challenges facing the industry. And they are significant – in terms of what we mine, where we mine and how we mine.

Continue reading