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26 Apr 2022

Transition Minerals Briefings

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Demand for minerals like lithium, cobalt, copper and nickel is expanding as companies race to produce the technology needed to support the energy transition, from electric vehicles to solar panels to wind turbines. This section contains briefings evidencing the human rights implications where companies’ human rights due diligence is not keeping pace with the transition to a net-zero economy.

Latest Briefings

Transition Minerals Tracker 2021 Analysis

As our world struggles to build the necessary investment in transition to clean energy, our latest Transition Mineral Tracker reveals widespread abuse of land, water and Indigenous rights that undermines the speed and scale of investment required in these minerals by 2030. The 2021 Tracker demonstrates that investors and companies face substantial challenges to embed responsible practice in mineral extraction that is essential to underpin a rapid transition to clean energy.

“You can’t eat lithium”: Community consent and access to information in transition mineral mining exploration

We provide three recent case studies that demonstrate the community harm, hardening opposition to mining projects, and delays or suspensions that can occur when there is no social license to operate. These examples, from Serbia, Spain and the USA, capture a moment in the movement towards a just transition lest these emerging cases become trends and threaten the global progress on mitigating the worst effects of the climate crisis.

Transition Mineral Briefing spanish

Transition Mineral Briefing in Spanish

Case studies

Case studies highlighting some of the main concerns within transition mineral mining.

Water

Mining is extremely water intensive and abuses involving water rights are pervasive. The right to water will continue to be central to the rights of communities in a fair and fast energy transition.

Agua

La mineria usa la cantidad del agua extensivo y los abusos contra los derechos de agua son omnipresentes. El derecho de agua continuará ser central a los derechos de los comunidades en una transicion energetica que es rapido y justo.

Electric Vehicles

Cobalt and lithium are two main minerals used in electric vehicle battery production. Mining for both minerals have been associated with allegations of human rights abuses.

Wind Turbines

Wind turbines rely on a number of critical minerals, including cobalt, copper, manganese and nickel. Demand for these minerals is expected to rise in part due to their use in wind energy technologies.

Solar Panels

More than half of all renewable energy capacity in the next five years estimated to come from solar. Copper, nickel, and zinc are key to the production of solar panels.

Deep Sea Mining

In the last decade, companies and governments have increasingly pursued exploration of the deep sea bed, where minerals essential to renewable technologies are found in large quantities. However, the practice comes with significant human rights risks.

Lithium Exploration in Mexico

Lithium is a critical component in the production of the lithium-ion batteries needed to produce electric vehicles. In 2018, some of the world's largest lithium reserves were found in Sonora, Mexico. This discovery brings opportunity but also potential human rights abuses.

La Explotación De Litio En México

El litio es un componente critico para la produccion de las baterías de iones de litio que se usan en los vehiculos electricos. En 2018, algunos de los yacimientos mas grandes por todo el mundo se descubieron en Sonora, Mexico.

Analysis

Learn more about the main issues identified in the global and regional allegations recorded on the Transition Minerals Tracker, and how growing demand for these minerals could exacerbate existing environmental and social issues.

Global Analysis (February 2021)

Learn more about the main issues identified in the global allegations recorded on the Transition Minerals Tracker, and how growing demand for these minerals could exacerbate existing environmental and social issues.

Southern Africa Analysis (March 2021)

Almost half of companies mining for key transition minerals in Southern Africa have allegations of human rights abuses. The majority of allegations—85%—are concentrated in just two commodities, copper and cobalt.

South America Special (March 2021)

In South America, 14 of the top 19 companies engaged in the mining of energy transition minerals in the region we investigated had 90 allegations of human rights abuses. The accusations and were related to environmental impacts, violations of indigenous rights and instances of conflict and violence.

Especial Sudamérica (marzo 2021)

En SudAmérica, el 14 de las 19 principales empresas que se dedicand a la mineria de los minerales de la transicion energetica en el region que investigamos tuvieron 90 acusaciones de abusos a los derechos humanos. Las acusaciones y se relacionaron con los impactos ambientales, las violaciones de los derechos indigenas e instancias del conflicto y violencia.