Special interest session – 11.15-12.30 BST.
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Achieving carbon targets will require rapid increase in the use of low-carbon energy technologies such as wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicles. The volume of these technologies required will need huge quantities of metals, including some which have not previously been mined in significant quantities. Cornwall’s rocks are still home to potentially significant mineral wealth – lithium offers the greatest immediate prospects, but tungsten and remaining deposits of tin may also be economically worthwhile to extract. Other metals such as copper, zinc, lead, cobalt and indium are known to be present in the ground too, and may become viable if prices increase or mining technologies develop sufficiently.
Mining the resources needed for a sustainable future must be done in a socially and environmentally responsible way – minimising waste, maximising co-production of resources, and listening to communities to sensitively address tensions between economic and environmental priorities at the planning stage, among other considerations. Cornwall’s mining expertise and heritage positions it ideally to lead the way in this.