In November 2019, MiningWatch Canada brought together almost 200 people — community and grassroots representatives, experts and academics, researchers and activists — to explore some of the thorny issues around the need for metals and materials for renewable energy and climate action. This is the report of that conference.
Through keynote presentations, panel discussions, and workshops, participants heard from communities at the front lines of raw material extraction for green energy. We took in some of the most important new research and thinking on these issues, and looked at ideas and applications to address both the demand for materials and practical conditions for their extraction and use.
The conference highlighted the emerging conflict between growing renewable energy generation and storage capacity – urgently needed to reduce anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions – and the destructive social and environmental effects that mining the metals and minerals required to create that capacity can have. Participants explored ways to mitigate or avoid that conflict through reduced demand for both energy and materials, as well as through improved practices and stricter regulation of mining.