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Report: Challenges for meeting increased demand for metals and minerals

This first of four reports within the IVA project Roadmap for Metals and Minerals is summarised in a series of observations on conditions and challenges, as well as measures required to ensure access to metals and minerals in order to cope with the transition to a fossil-free society. One conclusion is that the demand for metals and minerals will increase sharply, and that Sweden and the Swedish mining cluster play an important role in meeting the needs.

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Securing access to critical metals and minerals is not just an economic or technical issue, it is a strategic necessity for us to shape a sustainable and secure future.

Magnus Ericsson, fellow of IVA and Expert Group Chair

A reliable supply of industrially strategic metals and minerals is essential to maintain and develop our high-tech industry and to manage a successful transition to a fossil- free society. As fossil fuels are phased out, demand for metals and minerals is expected to grow significantly, given their essential role in increasing electrification and digitalisation.

Key mineral resources and value chains are currently controlled by a few countries outside the European Union (the EU), such as China, Russia, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Africa. This increases vulnerability and poses a risk of hindering industrial development in the EU. As a significant European mining nation, Sweden can therefore play a crucial role in the EU's future supply of metals and minerals.

Challenges for Meeting Increased Demand for Metals and Minerals

Conclusions - in brief

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Demand for metals and minerals will increase significantly. As a well-established mining country with multi-faceted mining expertise, Sweden can play an important role in meeting that demand.

Criteria to address

  • Demand for metals and minerals will increase significantly at a global level. Recycling and resource efficiency improvement are not enough to meet future needs.
  • We are facing a geopolitical reality that creates new risks in the global supply chains of metals and minerals.
  • Swedish mining expertise, characterised by high sustainability standards, offers a competitive advantage on the international stage.

Challenges to manage

  • Key value chains from prospecting and mining to smelting are threatened by a lack of capital, skills and knowledge.
  • Europe faces major competitiveness challenges relative to many mineral-rich countries.

Actions to take

  • New partnerships with mineral-rich countries around the world will be needed in order to secure Europe's supply of metals and minerals.
  • Increase knowledge of China's resources, needs and strategies.
  • Develop methods to better integrate enhanced sustainability practices in the mining industry. This can also contribute to increased competitiveness.
  • Increased competence, research and innovation are needed at all stages of the value chain.

The report

The purpose of the IVA's Roadmap for Metals and Minerals project is to help Sweden and Europe secure long-term, sustainable access to the metals and minerals needed for the transition to a fossil-free society and increased competitiveness.

This is the first of four reports within the Roadmap for Metals and Minerals project. The other three reports are 'Circular Flows to Meet Increased Demand for Metals and Minerals', 'Increased Demand for Metals and Minerals – Conflicts of Objectives and Interests' and the synthesis report 'Metals and Minerals for Sustainable Development and Increased Competitiveness'.

This report focuses on describing the value chains in the supply of metals and semi-finished products that will be crucial in the production of the new technologies that will be required to meet climate goals and build sustainable societies.


Karin Byman

Project Manager

Technology and economics

Telefon: +46 70-574 70 72