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 hosted a panel of experts to discuss what needs to be done to accelerate sustainable copper and lithium extraction in Latin American countries. The event focused on the challenges and opportunities that governments and industry face to turn these mineral reserves into a bridge for the energy transition globally.