Europe consumes around one fifth of the world’s metals and minerals, but accounts for just 3% of mining production. And while recycling can help reduce demand, it will never meet the needs of contemporary society, from electronics to cars and even dresses.
For this reason, research focus needs to be on environmentally friendly mining says Jenny Greberg, Associate Professor of Mining and Rock Engineering at the Lulea University of Technology.
"Of course we can recycle everything that we have used so far, but even if we recycle all metals and minerals that we have in our society now, it will only approximately meet half of our needs of metals and minerals in the future. So we still need mines and then we need to do mining in the best way possible and technology is the key to that,” she says.
Electric cars use four times more copper than diesel
"We need a lot of metals and minerals. We need them for instance because if you compare an electric car, a car driven by battery, compared to a diesel car, you need about four times as much copper in a car based on electricity and batteries.
“So in order to meet these global sustainability goals we need to have solutions based on metals, so we have an increasing demand of minerals and metals in the future."