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RESCHEDULED: GSL Public Lecture: Minerals and Metals in the Net Zero Transition

29 June 2022
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Geological Society Events, 2022 Year of Sustainability, Energy Transition
The Geological Society, Burlington House
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***UPDATE*** This lecture has been rescheduled from May - the new date is 29 June.

Minerals and Metals in the Net Zero Transition

The UK has set out a strategy to reach “net zero carbon emissions” by 2050, in order to meet our obligations to international agreements on climate change. Whilst a commitment to reduce our use of fossil fuels is an obvious part of that strategy, what is perhaps less well-known is that we will increase our dependence on other geological resources. Renewable power, electric vehicles and other green technologies are all dependent on metals and minerals to function. We now use a greater amount and variety of metals than we ever have, and will continue to use more, as population grows and technology changes. 

Geologists are faced with a puzzle. A more sustainable future requires more mining – but we know that mining struggles to be sustainable. It is an industry that causes significant environmental damage, through landscape change, biodiversity loss, energy and water consumption and waste production. Some of the metals we need face other challenges. Some metals are vulnerable to political and trade disputes whilst others have significant ethical dimensions, with child labour, modern slavery and criminality playing a role in supply. How can we respond to these challenges, whilst meeting unprecedented increases in demand?

This lecture will explore some of the raw materials that we need for the “energy transition”, including critical metals, and the challenges we need to address to supply them sustainably. 


Dr Dan Smith

Dan is an Associate Professor in Applied and Environmental Geoscience at the University of Leicester, where he researches and teaches on topics related to the supply of metals. Through his research he has worked on the exploration for new copper deposits, where we obtain critical metals such as tellurium, and how we might better incorporate technology metals into a circular economy.


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Event commences at 18.00 BST

Past Meeting Resources

Videos of past lectures can be viewed online in our Past Meeting Resources

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