July 6, 2021

GSR’s Managing Director Kris Van Nijen, spoke to Belgian newspaper De Standaard for an article in its series on critical resources. The series examines the green economy and its reliance on raw materials and minerals. “Demand is skyrocketing, but supply is tight,” said De Standaard in its introduction. ”If Europe is to become more independent, there is a long road ahead and some inconvenient truths’” Here are some extracts from the article on manganese Paradox …. according to a recent paper in Nature, the world is 'not even close' to meeting the demand for raw materials with recycling. Van Nijen therefore speaks of the 'sustainability paradox'. 'We all want a green transition, but we don't want to pay the price for it. The resources have to come from somewhere. And then the question is where mining is least harmful.' The verdict has not yet been handed down… Scale …It cannot be disputed that there is an impact, says marine biologist Ann Vanreusel (UGent). 'But in the end a lot depends on the scale at which the extraction takes place.' And that, according to Van Nijen, is often lacking in perspective. The ISA has awarded 19 concessions for research on the polymetallic nodules, which cover an area of about 1.4 million square kilometers, or 0.4 percent of the ocean floor. 'In addition, we expect to exploit only 30 percent of that concession in the future,' says Van Nijen. Regulation The ISA, which has a total of 167 states and the EU as members (the US is notably absent), is working on a legal framework. That would have been ready at the end of last year, but Covid threw a spanner in the works. The rules could affect profitability and mean commercial operation does take place before 2028. 'It is difficult to say that work is done recklessly,' says Vanreusel. You can read the full article here The whole series is available here, and a podcast is available here.