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  • Responsible Raw Materials

Robert Pell - Harmonising environmental performance calculations for battery metals

Updated: May 31, 2020

The goal has been clear since the signing of the Paris Agreement: become carbon neutral by 2050[1]. Since, there has been a strong focus on the electrification of the transport sector, a key component in the transition to a carbon neutral economy. That transition requires the extraction of enormous amounts of metals. For example, there is significant demand growth projected for for copper, cobalt, nickel, lithium and graphite. It is essential that the sourcing of these metals be done in a way that does not offset the improvements in environmental performance of the downstream technology.

It is possible to use a life cycle assessment approach to quantify the environmental impact of raw material production. However, companies, consultancies and academics are using a range of methodologies and assumptions, which does not allow a project-by-project comparison. In the worst case, companies are able to use this flexibility of the methodology to greenwash.

There is significant demand from various stakeholders in the raw materials sector to have a fair and representative comparison for the environmental performance of the production of these materials from different sources. Minviro is working with commodity sectors to develop these frameworks for battery metals[2].

[1] European Green Deal – for Europe’s economy and society to become climate-neutral by 2050, Commission proposal for a regulation: European Climate Law

[2] Pell, R., Tijsseling, L., Grant, A., Deak, D (2020) Apples to Apples: Developing a Framework for Environmental Impact Comparison for Lithium Chemical Products


Robert Pell PhD is Founder & Director of Minviro, a spin-out company from University of Exeter. Minviro supports mining companies in adopting life cycle assessment approaches to their projects, highlighting environmental impacts and opportunities for improvements during the development stages of projects. Robert completed his PhD at Camborne School of Mines (University of Exeter) as part of the NERC fundedSoSRareproject on the topic ‘responsible sourcing of rare earth elements’. Prior to this Robert worked as Assistant Editor at International Mining.

Robert Pell & Laurens Tijsseling

125 Lavington Street, London, SE1 0NZ

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