Home » FT Mining Summit Stresses Mining’s Role in Circular Economy

FT Mining Summit Stresses Mining’s Role in Circular Economy

by Adenike Adeodun

Mines around the world are adopting circular practices, reducing waste, and conserving water. However, to realize a complete circle for products – from production to consumption and then to reuse – collaboration between designers, policymakers, and industry leaders is crucial, as highlighted at the FT Mining Summit this week.

Mining Weekly reported that the circular economy is gaining traction, and many miners are focusing more on recycling operations. Harry Dempsey, Financial Times commodities correspondent, noted the rapid growth of recycling as demand for critical minerals continues to surge, especially for the global energy transition.

During a robust panel discussion, experts, including Kunal Sinha, Glencore’s global recycling head, and representatives from Norsk Hydro, International Copper Association, and Circular, tackled the forecasted six-fold increase in demand for critical minerals against the current supply. Sinha stressed that the circular economy goes beyond just recycling; it encompasses product life extension, repair, and reuse.

Sinha also shed light on Glencore’s proactive steps in repurposing existing assets for recycling, aiming for more efficient operations.

Norsk Hydro reported that about a third of the aluminum metal supply in the aluminum sector comes from recycled material. Given the rising customer demand and regulatory shifts in different countries, the company anticipates that the circular market will grow faster than the primary one.

Speaking for the copper industry, Louise Assem from the International Copper Association emphasized mining’s foundational role in establishing a circular value chain.

Douglas Johnson-Poensgen, CEO of Circular, offered a future perspective on batteries. He mentioned the upcoming shift in battery production transparency, meaning consumers might soon know the carbon footprint of a battery, leading to a preference for recycled battery materials.

In conclusion, markets might favor recycled secondary material over primary material as the global focus sharpens on sustainability and mitigating climate change.

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