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Events Critical Minerals

Critical Minerals in Latin America: a Bridge or a Bottleneck for the Energy Transition?

Past Event

June 5, 2023

12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

As the world transitions from consuming fossil fuels-based energy into low-carbon energy sources, demand for copper, lithium, nickel, and other minerals will increase for things like electric mobility, solar panels, wind turbines, and energy storage. However, the world is not on track to get these minerals at current rates. The world’s demand for lithium is projected to increase by 40 times and that for copper to potentially double by 2040 relative to 2020 levels.

Latin America has the world’s largest deposits of both copper and lithium. Chile and Peru are the world’s leading copper producers with about 40% of global production, while Chile and Argentina account for 32% of global lithium supply. However, Latin America faces a number of social, political, environmental, and financial challenges to increase its critical minerals extraction and processing capacity.

The Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs will host a panel of experts to discuss what needs to be done to accelerate sustainable copper and lithium extraction in Latin American countries. This event will focus on the challenges and opportunities that governments and industry face to turn these mineral reserves into a bridge for the energy transition globally. Light refreshments will be provided.


  • María José Baptista, Interagency and Intergovernmental Affairs Officer, United Nations Environment Programme
  • Juan Carlos Jobet, Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University SIPA; Dean, School of Business, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez; Former Minister of Energy and Mining, Chile
  • Tom Moerenhout, Research Scholar, Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University SIPA; Adjunct Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University SIPA; Adjunct Assistant Professor, New York University Stern School of Business; Senior Advisor, World Bank


  • Diego Rivera Rivota, Research Associate, Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University SIPA

This event will be hosted in person in New York City and live streamed via Zoom.

Advance registration is required. Upon registration, you will receive a confirmation email. The event will be recorded and the video recording will be added to our website following the event.

This event is open to press, and registration is required to attend. For media inquiries or requests for interviews, please contact Natalie Volk ([email protected]).

For more information about the event, please contact [email protected].

Register to attend in-person

Register to join via livestream