The political decisions that have been taken to transform Germany’s energy production system envisage a departure from fossil resources and the accelerated application of renewable energies and e-mobility. This not only involves the new and recognised concepts for electricity generation and transmission but also includes energy storage and associated issues relating to the sourcing of the minerals that will be required. Take the rare-earth elements, cobalt, magnesium, lithium, copper and other materials, for example: Last year more than 90 % of the metal resources we use in Germany were imported from abroad, with most of these coming from supplier countries affected by a troubled political situation or enjoying a monopoly status when it comes to raw materials production and processing. Raw materials supply has been brought even more sharply into focus by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Against a backdrop of growing demand for critical resources that are essential for achieving climate targets and transforming our industrial processes there are now signs of serious and looming supply risks. Germany therefore has to diversify its supply chains and develop a more sustainable policy if it is to safeguard its economic potential. This latest edition of Mining Report Glückauf accordingly focuses on international mining projects where German interests are very much to the fore.
Africa offers a wide range of opportunities for German companies and could play a key role in our raw materials supply situation. Indeed a project for extracting battery minerals is already being developed in Tanzania in the eastern part of that continent. Peru in South America ranks among Germany’s five most important supplier countries for various mineral resources and still has untapped deposits that could be of enormous strategic significance for Germany’s high-tech industries. The salars of some South American countries contain huge quantities of lithium that are highly valued for battery production. Cloud-based and emission-free technologies of the kind provided by German and German-based mining suppliers are gaining in importance for mining operations and the development of greenfield projects in the mining sector. And as all geological deposits have a finite life cycle it will be for future generations to determine the extent to which extraterrestrial resources can help secure our sources of supply.
This issue of Mining Report Glückauf rounds out with contributions from the German Social Accident Insurance Institution for the Raw Materials and Chemical Industry (BG RCI) in our ISSA Mining section and from TU Clausthal University and Georg Agricola University of Applied Sciences in our Post-mining section, together with a paper on structural change in the coal industry of Ukraine.
With my best regards
Dipl.-Ing. Andreas-Peter Sitte
Chief Editor Mining Report Glückauf, Essen