Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
13.4 Industrial Resource Strategies
Tuesday, 21/Sept/2021:
9:00am - 10:30am

Session Chair: Kathryn Goodenough, British Geological Survey
Session Chair: Katharina Steiger, Karlsruhe Institut for Technology

Session Abstract

During the last decades, the needs in metals for the industry kept increasing in volume but also in diversity. All predictive modelling shows that this will not change in the following decades. The European industry is mainly relying on import, leaving the European countries vulnerable against supply shortage and market manipulation for many commodities. Recycling can only cover parts of the raw materials needs and technologies are not fully developed for many metals yet. In order to secure and improve access to raw materials, the European Union (EU) fosters a resurgence of mineral exploration to better know the mineral resources in Europe, ensure material supply and develop its autonomy (European Commission 2018). We welcome submissions that investigate the industrial, political, societal and regulatory view on mineral resources, exploration and mining approaches that will underpin security of supply for industry, and strategies for resilient value chains and more efficient raw materials use.

9:00am - 9:30am
Session Keynote

Review of the European Lithium resources

Blandine Gourcerol, Eric Gloaguen, Romain Millot, Jérémie Melleton, Bernard Sanjuan

BRGM (BRGM), France

In the last decade, lithium has become a European strategic metal due to its extensive consumption in electromobility and green technologies. Consequently, global demand has increased substantially encouraging European interest in assessing its own resources, identifying a potential Li-industry and securing its own supply. In this context, a geographically-based compilation of the European lithium from both: 1) hard-rock, and 2) deep fluids occurrences and ore deposits, with their corresponding features (e.g., deposit types, Li-bearing minerals, Li content, host-rocks) have been assessed.

Accordingly, it appears that lithium is not particularly rare and is relatively well represented and distributed within Europe. Indeed, regarding lithium hard-rock resources, about 527 occurrences including 30 deposits have been identified mostly related to endogenous processes such as lithium-cesium-tantalum (LCT) pegmatites, rare-metal granites and greisen mineralization. Wheareas, about 182 occurrences of Li-bearing geothermal fluids from which Li content is above 15 mg/l has also been identified.

It appears that Li is significantly enriched in two distinct geodynamical contexts: 1) late orogenic process, related to a continent-continent collision for endogenous processes; and 2) local crustal thickening, as well as post-orogenic extensional setting for the exogenous processes. Thus, the complementarity of these two studies has been demonstrated that Li-bearing geothermal brines are coeval with emplacement of Li-magmatic bodies (LCT pegmatites and granites) as well as emplacement of large sedimentary basins in Europe suggesting an extensional setting as observed for Li-rock hard-rock deposits.

9:30am - 9:45am

Screening of environmental risks in metals supply chains, using the example of battery metals

Klaus Steinmueller

Karlsruhe Institute for Technology, Germany

As a leading industrial country, Germany has a great need for metallic raw materials, which will even increase over the next years with the intended energy and mobility transition.

To meet the demand for metallic raw materials, the industry in Germany is heavily dependent on imports from abroad. To reduce this dependency on imports, Germany is working towards a circular economy in which resource efficiency and the recycling of metals play a prominent role. However, a circular economy will only be able to cover a portion of the necessary raw material requirements. Therefore, the import of primary raw materials will continue to be of decisive importance in the future.

The sourcing of the raw materials, however, must be responsible in order to avoid human rights violations and environmental impacts in the metals supply chains.

Human right violations can nowadays be managed quite well in metals supply chains through laws and guidelines. But so far there are no adequate instruments to address environmental risks in metals supply chains. Despite this lack of instruments, the EU is considering to enact a supply chain regulation which could make manufacturers liable for environmental impacts in countries where the metals are produced.

To facilitate the assessment of environmental risks in metals supply chains, a hands-on screening tool to recognize and red flag environmental risks in such supply chains using the example of battery metals is presented.

9:45am - 10:00am

Traded metal scrap, traded alloying elements: A case study of Denmark and implications for circular economy

Juan Tan

Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), Denmark

Since metals are often used in alloyed forms, proper management and efficient recycling of metal scrap is key to sustainable management of those alloying metals as well. Previous studies on the trade of metals and metal containing products focused mainly on the carrying major metals themselves, however, the quantity and type of their embodied alloying elements remain rarely investigated. In this paper, we aim to address this knowledge gap by compiling an alloying element composition database for scrap of three bulk metals (iron and steel, aluminum, and copper), and using Denmark, a typical industrialized country with a high share of metal scrap export, as an example. Our results show that most alloying elements embodied in bulk metal scrap exported from Denmark depict a fluctuating yet overall increasing pattern from 1988 to 2017. Denmark’s metal scrap exported almost only to European countries, and Germany and Sweden are two largest receivers. While alloying elements embodied in steel scrap such as chromium and nickel and the construction sector contribute the most to the total embodied alloying elements, other alloying elements such as cobalt, bismuth, vanadium, titanium, and niobium with a lower amount yet a high market value and criticality status deserve a closer look as well. We conclude that further investigation on how the trade of metal scrap affect the recycling pathways and efficiencies of alloying elements are needed to support discussion on global and regional resource management and circular economy strategies.

Metallic raw material demand for hydrogen technology in the German steel production 2030

Katharina Steiger1,2, Jochen Kolb1, Christoph Hilgers1

1Karlsruhe Institut for Technology, Germany; 2ThinkTank Industrielle Ressourcenstrategien

To reach Germany’s climate neutrality goal in 2045, different technological and systematical changes have to be conducted, such as the expansion of renewable energies plants, the shift towards e-mobility and the necessary infrastructure. For the measures, metallic raw materials will be increasingly required. The German government plans to support those industry sectors, which are emitting great amounts of CO2. The data evaluation on emissions and energy consumption in Germany shows that the sector "production and first processing of iron and steel" is the second largest emitter of CO2 in Germany, with around 40 million tons of CO2 per year. On the one hand, steel is essential for the construction of renewable energy plants and, on the other hand, its production accounts for appr. 5 % of total German CO2 emissions. Consequently, steel production is part of the solution and the challenge of the climate neutrality goal. Various options to decrease industrial CO2 emissions in Germany are being discussed, as e.g. the use of hydrogen. To produce green hydrogen, various metallic raw materials are required for the production of green energy plants and electrolyzers. The amount of the metallic raw materials is calculated specifically for the application of hydrogen in the German steel production in 2030.