The ocean waters that surround Papua New Guinea and Eastern Indonesia lie in a biodiverse Coral Triangle, which is home to some of the world’s most highly endangered and concentrated coral reefs. Apart from being internationally significant ecological sites, these reefs are also habitats for a few vital subsistence and commercial fisheries, which are crucial to the lives of the local communities.
At the same time, the area, which is rich in nickel deposits, is attracting the attention of manufacturers of electric vehicles worldwide. Reason being, electric vehicles rely on batteries that contain minerals such as cobalt, lithium and nickel.
The global demand for nickel is expected to grow nearly six times by the year 2030. This would explain why Indonesia, which is currently the biggest producer of nickel globally, is trying to significantly increase nickel production in order to meet the demand.
To do so, however, mining firms would have to find a different way to mine that would not include the disposal of mine waste, known as tailings, in the sea. For years, this pollution problem has affected Indonesia’s mining industry. Indonesians have been against this practice, quoting evidence that the tailings would strain fisheries and eliminate fragile reefs, which are already being affected by the coal plants that are currently used to power existing operations.
Last year, Tesla CEL Elon Musk vowed to award a huge contract to any company that could find a way to source nickel in both an environmentally sensitive and efficient way. Earlier this year, Tesla presented an investment proposal to the government of Indonesia. It’s safe to say it went well because the next day, the nation reported that new mining projects would not be allowed to discard waste into the ocean.
This move by Tesla demonstrates the power that companies have to demand only minerals that have been sourced responsibly to be used in their products. Companies must use this power to ensure that the road to a clean energy economy isn’t filled with human rights abuses and mine waste.
Any companies that have plans to make profit off of clean technology must therefore utilize their market power to ensure that the mined materials utilized in their products are responsibly sourced, whether it’s lithium from Argentina, cobalt from the Democratic Republic of Congo or nickel from Indonesia.
Doing this provides can provide companies with a marketing edge. And with pressure increasing from investors and consumers to make sure that mineral sourcing for low-carbon technologies and EV batteries, in particular, is as responsible as possible, other companies are bound to follow.
Meanwhile, many mining companies are well positioned for success in the years and decades to come. An example of one such company is Excellon Resources Inc. (TSX: EXN) (NYSE American: EXN) (FSE: E4X2), which is the holder of an enviable option to acquire the Silver City Project located in Germany. Historical records show that this location possesses enticing potential, with previous high-grade yields of 1kg. of silver for each ton of ore extracted.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Excellon Resources Inc. (TSX: EXN) (NYSE American: EXN) (FSE: E4X2) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/EXN
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