The global hunger for raw materials and its consequences for people and the environment

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The need for critical and strategic raw materials such as copper, cobalt, lithium and rare earths is increasing worldwide. They are particularly indispensable for the energy transition, but also in other industrial sectors. The extraction of these raw materials is often accompanied by human rights violations and significant ecological damage, while the profits are largely pocketed by international mining companies. In many places, civil society organizations are therefore fighting against mining or for fairer rules.

In this magazine we provide information about new dynamics in raw material extraction, the associated problems and, above all, the opportunities for positive changes. These opportunities lie on the one hand in innovative mining processes and greater social benefits in the mining countries, and on the other hand in a general reduction in raw material consumption – be it through the production of long-lasting and repairable products, recycling or new usage patterns such as sharing.

With contributions from, among others,   Katrin Meyer, Heike Holdinghausen, Imme Scholz, Johanna Sydow, Ingrid Hausinger, Andrés Angel, Luisa Denter and Franziska Brantner, the Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Change.

More publications by Heinrich Böll Foundation:
Value Addition in the Context of Mineral Processing
Environmental responsibility through supply chains: Insights from Latin America
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