Minerals are Essential to address Climate Change and meet Sustainable Development Goals

Goche Ganas Lodge in Namibia - a country with vast mineral potential - venue for the workshop on Resourcing Future Generations
Earthen road sunset at Goche Ganas Lodge, near Windhoek, Namibia – a country with vast mineral potential – venue for the workshop on Resourcing Future Generations (Photograph by Saleem H. Ali)

In 2013, the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) launched the Resourcing Future Generations (RFG) initiative to bring world attention to the challenges of sustaining resource supplies. The RFG initiative includes a diverse group 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.

During its most recent workshop held in Namibia from July 25-30, 2015, which I had the pleasure of attending, the group noted the often neglected linkages between solutions to global change concerns such as climate change and mineral resource adequacy. Attempts to mitigate society’s carbon footprint while sustaining an adequate pace of development necessarily involve an adequate and reliable supply of mineral raw materials. However, this issue has received minimal global policy attention. The workshop aimed to develop an expert consensus document to raise the profile of this issue to the highest level of international decision-making.

The expert group substantiated the following key premises to develop an action agenda: