Mining – A Task for Decades

by | 21. Nov 2023 - 12:04 | Knowledge

Many years pass between the discovery of new mineral resources and their extraction.

The mining industry is facing a monumental task. It provides the raw materials required for the energy transition, from aluminum and copper to critical minerals like rare earths. Western countries put high hopes in the construction of new mines to counteract the dependence on China in the long term. However, according to surveys, a lack of skilled workers and more difficult access to capital due to ESG guidelines for taking environmental, sustainability, and social issues into account are causing headaches in the industry because extracting natural resources is not only cost-intensive but also takes a lot of time. Reports on the discovery of new deposits are always exciting, but it can take decades before mines are fully operational and can contribute to supply.

Our infographic provides an overview of the typical life cycle of a mining project. From exploration, in which state-of-the-art technologies such as drones are used today, to the actual extraction. The figures are based on empirical values from the industry. Of course, this representation is idealized and does not apply to every project. Secondary mining, i.e., the extraction of resources from iron, coal, or copper mining residues, could also become increasingly important. Given the increasing demand, post-mining is now frequently mentioned as one of many pieces of the puzzle for securing the supply of raw materials.

Photo: iStock/RoNeDya