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Consent and costs are key questions on extraction of ‘energy transition’ minerals

Lithium pools in Salinas Grandes, Argentina. Image by Pedro J Pacheco via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED)

  • The many environmental, social, and health impacts of extracting minerals that power renewable energy, mobile phones and electric vehicles need more debate and detailed media coverage, an Indigenous rights activist and journalist say on the podcast.
  • Mongabay speaks with Galina Angarova, Indigenous executive director of the SIRGE Coalition, and environmental journalist Ian Morse about critical questions to ask about the demand for certain minerals and who benefits from their extraction.
  • Research indicates as much as 54% of all transition minerals are on or near Indigenous land, however, no nation has properly implemented the protocols of Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), a framework that’s key to ensuring that local communities are aware of, benefit from – and especially are not harmed by – such activities.
  • The risk of global supply chain disruptions due to the concentration of minerals in relatively few countries, or the potential formation of cartels restricting their supply, adds further complexity to the situation, the two podcast guests say.

Minerals and metals used in technologies enabling much of the global energy transition and their applications are relatively new and require thought and reporting that probes questions related to their need, the growing social, human and environmental impacts mining for these minerals have, and the geopolitical tensions they may exacerbate.

To learn more, Mongabay speaks with Indigenous rights advocate and executive director of the SIRGE Coalition, Galina Angarova, and environmental journalist Ian Morse, author of the Substack newsletter Green Rocks. Together on this episode of the Mongabay Newscast, they detail critical questions that journalists, policy makers, and citizens should be asking themselves regarding transition minerals.

Listen here:

Research published in the journal Nature indicates that as many as 54% of all transition minerals occur on or near land occupied by Indigenous communities. According to a recent United Nations report, extraction of raw materials could increase 60% by 2060, posing further human and environmental impacts.

Yet, Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), an internationally recognized right established by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), is not sufficiently applied or enforced in any nation, says Ian Morse. “This consent protocol…it’s not actually implemented anywhere.”

“The ultimate goal for us as Indigenous activists working in the space [is] to avoid repeating patterns from the oil and gas extraction and traditional mining in this energy transition,” Angarova says. “We’re at the cusp of this new industrial revolution, and we have opportunity with that [to] bring Indigenous peoples to the table to ask for their Free, Prior, and Informed Consent.”

Subscribe to or follow the Mongabay Newscast wherever you listen to podcasts, from Apple to Spotify, and you can also listen to all episodes here on the Mongabay website, or download our free app for Apple and Android devices to gain instant access to our latest episodes and all of our previous ones.

Banner image: Image by Pedro J Pacheco via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED).

Mike DiGirolamo is a host & associate producer for Mongabay based in Sydney. He co-hosts and edits the Mongabay Newscast. Find him on LinkedInBlueSky and Instagram.

Related podcast:

Podcast: Who benefits from resource extraction in the DRC?

Related reading:

New FPIC guide designed to help protect Indigenous rights as mineral mining booms

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