The growing emphasis on sustainable energy is driving demand for specific metals and minerals. Electric vehicles, renewable energy sources, and increasing government regulations are all affecting the mineral processing industry like never before. With so much change, we’ve put together a short list of metals and minerals that will be in high demand for the next decade.
The infrastructure requirements for renewable energy sources will cause a massive increase in demand for copper and other base metals over the next decade. A single wind turbine uses 3,500kg of copper, electric vehicles require over 80kg, and a solar farm needs anywhere from two to eight million kilograms of the metal.
A substantial increase in copper mining operations will be required in order to meet government targets for renewable energy sources and EV production. Will mining operations be able to keep up with this growing demand?
The International Energy Agency predicts as many as 125 million electric vehicles could be on the road by 2030. This is a substantial increase of 1,389% over the number of EVs on the road today. The powerful batteries that keep these cars rolling are made up of minerals like cobalt, nickel, manganese, and aluminum. All of which will see rising demand in the coming decade.
Most cobalt stores come from the Congo, a politically unstable region. This has spurred action to open low-grade cobalt mines that may not have been feasible before. To maintain profitability in these mines, efficient mineral processing will be crucial. Using the right technology, like the Condor Dense Medium Separator for preconcentration and the Falcon C Gravity Concentrator to recover cobalt down to 10 microns in size, can help operations become economically viable.
Neodymium is responsible for most of the growth in demand for rare earth metals. It’s in most of your electronics, electric vehicles, wind turbines, and more. It has fantastic magnetic and conductive properties. In fact, neodymium is used in the most powerful type of permanent magnet ever created.
Neodymium allows magnets to be small, yet remain incredibly strong. Demand is currently exceeding supply by two to three thousand tonnes per year and shows no sign of slowing down.
Demand for gold grew by 4% in 2018. The trend has continued, as the first quarter of 2019 has already seen a 7% increase in demand compared to the first three months of last year.
The rise in demand is mostly a result of central banks, as they are purchasing gold at the fastest pace since 2013. Nine central banks grew their gold reserves by a tonne in the first quarter alone this year.
Gold purchases in India also impacted demand. A lower rupee-denominated gold price coincided with the gold buying wedding season this year in the world’s second-largest gold consuming country.
In order to meet this growing demand, Sepro has helped companies like TMAC Resources to achieve record levels of gold recovery. – Dave Hornick, VP of Sales
At Sepro, we want to see our customers thrive regardless of market conditions or what’s in demand. We’ve identified four ways to do this:
- Improve existing products
- Create new product variations
- Design and build new technologies to reflect market trends
- Develop novel applications for our existing tech
With Sepro’s solutions, you too can thrive. To get started, get in contact with your mineral processing experts today.