Important Minerals Symposium – Sydney Environmental Research Institute



The event was held at the University of Sydney and online from Thursday 21 September to Friday 22 September 2023 in Seminar Room 203, RD Watt Building. Learn more about the Critical Minerals project here.

We are rapidly overstepping planetary boundaries, and global warming could exceed safe limits even by 1.5 to 2 degrees. In an effort to decarbonize their energy use and systems, states have recently begun dramatically transitioning to renewable energy, primarily in energy use and transportation. To tackle the climate crisis, the global energy sector needs to transition to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040-50, primarily through renewable energy. The demand for renewable energy sources, primarily wind, solar power and lithium-ion batteries, has led to a global surge in mining of “critical” minerals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, copper and rare earths.

Nations such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, as well as supranational organizations such as the European Union, have designated many minerals as critical to climate, security, and economic needs. This symposium will address concerns about how extractivism in critical minerals contributes to sustainable transitions. We aim to examine the environmental and social impacts of renewable energy extraction, the processes and impacts of global value chains for critical minerals, and efforts to manage them.

Header image: Drone over a quarry in the Barossa Valley, SA, Australia by Dion Beetson via Unsplash.

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