In mid-2021 the German Federal Government passed the new Supply Chain Due Diligence Act that is aimed at protecting the environment and enforcing respect for human rights and the rights of children along the global supply chains. This essentially imposes increasing liability obligations on resource-consuming industries and requires raw material producers to commit themselves to sustainable mining practices both at home and abroad. The latest as well as the next edition of Mining Report Glückauf picks up on this theme by presenting an overview of relevant opinions and emerging trends and technologies within the mining sector. This issue focuses on the effects of a sustainable raw materials policy on mining. In the following issue in April, we will focus primarily on technological solutions for realizing sustainable mining.
Today’s industrial megatrends will herald a significant and ongoing increase in the international demand for minerals and raw materials, and Germany will also be part of this development. And yet we are ill-prepared to meet this challenge, having for years pushed ahead with a policy of withdrawal from mining and natural resource production. The pressure is therefore growing for a return to a home-based or at least to a -European raw materials extraction industry. This transformation calls for a new approach that can be adjusted in line with a changing environment in terms of both, operational activities and communication.
The energy transition, as part of the new megatrend, entails a withdrawal from the use of fossil fuels. The new and essentially digital technologies, some of which will prove to be fast-paced and short-lived, require the use of other types of mineral resources that will open up new fields of application. As well as being an important element in the steel and metals industry these materials are now vital for the e-mobility sector and for the generation of renewable energies. Mining and refining these substances is an energy-intensive business and only makes sense when these processes can be made as climate-neutral as possible.
The complexity and multidisciplinary nature of this subject area may mean that an integrated approach is needed to research activities. Collaborative and coordinated research and development projects in which business undertakings team up with universities and other research establishments can provide opportunities for developing and evaluating new technologies and potential solutions under technically relevant conditions.
With my best regards
Dipl.-Ing. Andreas-Peter Sitte
Chief Editor Mining Report Glückauf, Essen