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Resourcing the Future - Global initiative meets challenges of climate change head on

The challenges of climate change and sustainable development cannot be met without also addressing the issue of adequate and reliable supplies of mineral raw materials. Despite this, the issue of mineral resource adequacy has received very little attention from global policy makers.  RFG Group photo_July 2015

From July 25 - 30 2015, the Resourcing Future Generations (RFG) initiative met in Namibia to develop an expert consensus document, aiming to raise the profile of this issue at the highest level of international decision making. 

The group began by identifying a number of key premises:

  • The 20th century was characterised by improvements in living standards for billions of people worldwide.
  • This improvement was underpinned by a dramatic increase in utilization of water, energy and mineral resources.
  • Recycling and substitution will play an important role, but cannot eliminate the demand for primary resources in coming decades. 
  • However, with a declining rate of mineral deposit discoveries, threats to global trade in minerals and accelerating demand for a range of mineral products, future supply cannot be assured.
  • With the global population projected to rise to around 9 billion people by 2050, the world needs adequate supplies of mineral raw materials to meet increasing demand. This demand needs to be met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. 

Key issues discussed by the group were: supply and demand; the irregular distribution of mineral deposits and the need to value resources in the context of other land uses (mining, agriculture, settlements, infrastructure etc); use of materials, energy and water; best practice in mining legislation and the role of Namibia’s Geology Survey. RFG Group photo_July 2015

As a consequence, the group has produced two short documents:

  • Resourcing Future Generations – A Global Effort to Meet the World’s Future Needs Head-on
  • The importance of geoscience data in attracting mining investment in Africa; lessons from Namibia
Both documents which will be available to download shortly.
  1. Formed in 2013 by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), RFG aims to bring world attention to the challenges of sustaining resource supplies. The group consists of geoscientists, environmental and social scientists and economists, drawn from a range of institutions with diverse private and public experience in exploration, mining and mineral policy, environmental protection, and sustainable development.
  2. The workshop was held on the GocheGanas wilderness resort, and was financially supported by IUGS, UNESCO and an ICSU grant to IUGS. Dr Gabi Schneider provided local interface and leadership for the workshop, which included presentations from Mr Veston Malango, CEO of the Chamber of Mines of Namibia and his Excellency, the Minister of Mining and Resources, Mr Obeth Kandjoze.