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World Bank launches fund to support sustainable mining

The World Bank aims to support a low-carbon transition to practice sustainable and green mining activities. (Image source: Khusen Rustamov/Pixabay)

The World Bank has launched a climate-smart mining facility, a multi-million fund that aims to support sustainable extraction and processing of minerals used in clean energy technologies such as wind, solar power, batteries for energy storage and electric vehicles

The facility focuses on helping resource-rich developing countries benefit from the increasing demand for minerals and metals while minimising the environmental and climate impact.

According to a World Bank report in 2017, global demand for strategic minerals such as lithium, graphite, and nickel is expected to rise rapidly by 965 per cent, 383 per cent and 108 per cent respectively by 2050.

While the growing demand for metals creates an opportunity for mineral-rich developing countries, it also increases the negative impacts of mining activities, affecting vulnerable communities and the environment. Therefore, resource-enriched countries need to adopt climate-smart mining practices to combat these negative impacts while protecting the environment.

The multi-donor trust fund is expected to work with developing countries and emerging economies to implement sustainable strategies across the mineral value chain. The facility will assist governments to build a robust policy, regulatory and legal framework that promotes climate-smart mining and creates an enabling environment for private capital.

The World Bank is targeting a total investment of US$50mn over a five-year timeframe to focus on activities around four core themes such as climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation, reducing material impacts and creating market opportunities.

These aim to contribute to the decarbonisation and reduction of material impacts along the supply chain of critical minerals needed for clean energy technologies.

According to the World Bank, the project will further focus on supporting the integration of renewable energy into mining operations, given that the mining sector accounts for up to 11 per cent of global energy use and that mining operations in remote areas often rely on diesel or coal.