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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

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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.


  • 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

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April 16, 2024 • 7:30 am - 5:00 pm est

Columbia Global Energy Summit 2024

The Columbia Global Energy Summit 2024 is an annual event dedicated to thought-provoking discussions around the critical energy and climate challenges facing the global community. 

Summit EventLerner Hall
Columbia University
Columbia Global Energy Summit 2024
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