4 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2022
    1. Well, we're first going to have a frank discussion of what minerals we think we need versus what we've got. And then we're going to realize what we've got won't work with the existing plan. And we'll start doing things like making batteries out of sodium, or sand, silica, or fluoride, or zinc, or lead. Nate Hagens: Lower tech, scalable things that don't give us the dopamine return on investment, but they are cheap and functional. 01:07:52 Simon Michaux: And can be recycled. So we're going to first scale back our expectations and our requirements for complex technology. We'll develop a technology that is simpler, more robust, and can deal with poorer quality material inputs, and require less energy to produce. Nate Hagens: How much of this is happening now in this domain? Simon Michaux: So there's a lot of talk at the moment that 01:08:18 the current mining industry is driven by demand and it's driven by money and by profit. So at the moment, there is just a bit of talk. And we're starting to talk about alternatives, like batteries made of fluoride for example. But at the moment, it's not taken seriously. And the future is seen as lithium iron based chemistry, like LFP batteries for example. And that is the focus, 100% of the time. 01:08:44 And so they're giving it lip service now, whereas five, 10 years ago, they wouldn't concede it existed at all. So it is progress. So first of all, we're going to change what we are going think we're going to do. Then we're going to start sourcing our minerals from our waste products because it's all around us.

      !- Futures Thinking : Maslow's Hierarchy framing for Minerals - need frank discussion about what we need for which futures trajectory, how much actually exists - from that, the truth will emerge that our current plans are unrealistic and we will have to change trajectories to adapt

    2. One of the things that concern me is copper. So we need about 4.3 billion tons of copper for the first generation of electrical, non-renewable technology systems. Including everything's stitched together. So 4.3 billion tons. 01:04:25 Nate Hagens: And if we relax your assumption of four weeks of buffer and that we have some hybrid system of depleting fossil fuels with some renewables, that 4.3 billion tons could be relaxed to 3.3 or 2.2 billion tons? Simon Michaux: I think it's 2.2 billion tons. It substantially does reduce. However, we are producing for copper say 24 million tons a year now. 01:04:53 So we've got to run at 180 years to hit that point. So existing at- Nate Hagens: It's not going to happen. It's not going to happen. And here's the other thing, and I'm sorry to interrupt. But Olivia Lazard is going to be on this show in a few weeks and her work is the countries where this stuff comes from. 01:05:17 And not only are they war-torn and have inequality issues, but there are also many of the countries that are going to be influenced dramatically in the near term from higher wet bulb risk to humans climate impacts. And we won't even be able to extract in these countries because of social and environmental 01:05:45 reasons. I can send you some info on that. Simon Michaux: Yes, please. But these are the things we need to get our arms around. So our copper reserves at the moment are at 880 million tons. Now existing growth, that's according to the USGS, US Geological Survey. So prior to 2020, humanity mined 700 million tons of copper back to 4,000 BC. 01:06:10 And that sounds like a lot. But to keep up with copper growth, copper demand growth, just the way we are now without electrifying, we will do the same in the next 22 years. So the last 4,000 years will be compressed into 22 years to keep up with the economic growth as it's increasing. And so the first generation, let's say the 4.3 billion tons is correct. 01:06:33 That is 6.2 times the historical mining rate back to 4,000 BC. So if we are right and we can shrink that buffer down, we are still three times the historical rate. Nate Hagens: Not the historical rate. The historical total cumulative

      !- Futures Thinking : Maslow's Hierarchy framing for Minerals - There just isn't enough copper to meet the target of full electrification - We would need 6.2x the copper we've mined since 4000 BC. - At current mining extraction rates, it would take 180 years to mine all this material, if it existed in the first place!

    3. this is part of the problem that we're having at the moment, where one part of society is not connected to other parts of society, and they just don't actually know what they're missing. So first of all, most of the non fossil fuel system has not been constructed yet. Less than 1% of vehicles are EV now, for example. 01:03:11 As as it has to be constructed, we can't recycle it. So the first generation at least must come from mining. But if it was all manufactured tomorrow or next year say, it's not for about 10 years that we've actually, when they all wear out the first generation of materials to come in, that's enough for recycling. And so recycling, if it is going to work... And I believe it will, but that's many years into the future.

      !- Futures Thinking : Maslow's Hierarchy framing for Minerals - Effective recycling won't have impact until many years into the future because most of the non-fossil fuel systems have not yet been built. There will be a 10 year lag time before we have major amounts to recycle

    4. Minerals are a thing at the moment where they're sort of seen as a side issue. And in fact in Europe in particular, we don't like the idea of mining at all. It's seen as dirty. And what's interesting is if the environmental movement not make friends with the mining industry, then its green transition will not happen. Right? That's the brutal truth. So I can see a situation where the environmental movement and the mining industry will join 01:01:21 hands, and both groups will evolve their practice to meet the other side halfway. And for example, every mine site will be rehabilitated when it's finished to the point where it can now be a natural biodiversity hub. All toxins are removed completely from the environment. That is possible.

      !- Futures Thinking : Maslow's Hierarchy framing for Minerals - environmentalists and mining industry will need to work together