Rapidly increasing global population

According to the United Nations, our planet will host more than 9.7 billion people by 2050 (a 26% increase over the next 30 years) and 10.9 billion by 2100 (41% more than today) (1).


Every day 180,000 people move to cities in the developing world.  As a result, by 2050 two thirds of the world population will be urban (2). And all these people will seek a higher standard of living.

These megatrends can only be met by smarter infrastructure and far more advanced clean transportation. Metals like cobalt, nickel and manganese will be essential in enabling this transformation. 

(1) World Population Prospects, UN, 2019
(2)  World Urbanization Prospects, UN, 2018

Cutting carbon emissions

The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement seeks to limit the global temperature increase to a maximum of 2 °C: a goal that can only be met by a drastic reduction in the use of fossil fuels. (1)

Phase-out of fossil fuel

Reducing the world’s dependence on fossil fuels will increase our dependence on minerals (2). A 2017 World Bank Report explains there will be much higher demand for cobalt, copper, manganese, nickel and molybdenum among other metals (3).

The International Panel on Climate Change says that 70% –  85% of our energy supply must come from renewable sources by 2075 if we are to meet the 2°C target (4). To achieve this, we need a six fold increase in investment in renewables and energy storage.

The rapidly growing demand for electric cars will place enormous pressure on nickel, manganese and cobalt, all of which are used in rechargeable lithium ion batteries.

(1) The Paris Agreement, UNFCCC, 2016
(2)  Metals for a low-carbon society, O. Vidal, B. Goffé, N. Arndt, Nature Geoscience, 2013
(3) The Growing Role of Minerals and Metals for a Low Carbon Future, World Bank, 2017
(4) Global Warming of 1.5°C.An IPCC Special Report, IPCC, 2018

Declining  responsible land-based mineral resources

Conventional land-based mining deposits have been exploited for centuries.  The ore quality on land is declining, thereby increasing the amount of energy and water required for exploitation (1).

Land-based deposits will become ever more difficult to extract, imposing higher environmental and social impacts.

Mineral resourcing and climate change are inextricably linked

According to Nature “the successful delivery of the UN sustainability goals and implementation of the Paris Agreement, requires technologies that utilize a wide range of minerals in vast quantities.

Metal recycling and technological change will contribute to sustaining supply, but mining must continue and grow for the foreseeable future to ensure that such minerals remain available to industry.

Mineral resourcing and climate change are inextricably linked, not only because mining requires a large amount of energy, but also because the world cannot tackle climate change without adequate supply of raw materials to manufacture clean technologies.” (2)

Responsible supply

Cobalt, copper, manganese and nickel land based reserves are located in States perceived as corrupt/fragile or very corrupt/fragile. In order to meet global goals around sustainable development and climate change mitigation, while contributing to lasting peace, the supply chains of these strategic minerals must be governed in a way that is responsible, accountable and transparent. (3)

Because of increased metal use over time and long metal in use lifetimes, many recycle content (RC) values are low and will remain so for the foreseeable future (4)

While DEME fully supports the transition to a circular economic model to address resource constraints, significant new supplies of metals are needed to address the near-term challenges of clean energy, transportation, rapid urbanization and population growth.

(1) Deteriorating Ore Resources, T.E. Graedel, E. van der Voet (Eds.), Linkages of Sustainability, The MIT Press, 2009
(2) Mineral supply for sustainable development requires resource governance, S.H. Ali et al, Nature, 2017
(3) Green Conflict Minerals:The fuels of conflict in the transition to a low-carbon economy, IISD, 2018
(4) What Do We Know About Metal Recycling Rates?, T.E. Gradel et al, Journal of Industrial Ecology, 2011

GSR believes that seabed exploitation can contribute to society’s growing needs for certain metals and can do so in an environmentally responsible manner.  GSR is fully committed to carrying out its mission in an operationally controlled, monitored and environmentally responsible way to provide solutions to the global challenges we face.