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LITHIUM mining for electric vehicles is incredibly destructive to the environment and about as far from "green" as you can imagine

October 13, 2022

By Paul Homewood


 There’s nothing new here, but it acts as a good reminder of just bad lithium mining is for the environment:



Electric vehicles are promoted as the solution for combating “climate change.” Governments are currently incentivizing the production of electric vehicles, while punishing the fossil fuel industry. However, lithium mining for electric vehicles is incredibly destructive to the environment, and is about as far from “green” as one could imagine. Not to mention, most of the lithium-ion batteries produced today come from China and require water-intensive mining operations that ravage natural environments throughout Australia, Argentina and Chile. The process depletes ground water, and leaves behind toxic wastewater that contaminates fields and harms wildlife. The mining process is not carbon dioxide free, either. The mining process releases 15,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions for every ton of lithium that is extracted.

There are serious environmental risks to extracting lithium for the production of lithium-ion batteries

When lithium is extracted from salt mines, the miners must drill into the salt flats and pump out a salty, mineral-rich brine. The brine is placed in large pools, so the water can evaporate out. When the brine evaporates, it leaves behind a sludge of potassium, manganese, borax and lithium salts that must be filtered out further. The process pollutes nearby aquifers and lowers the water table, interfering with water sources in the local environment.

The lithium extraction process takes several months, displaces valuable water resources, and leaves behind a toxic trail of wastewater in the local environment. It takes approximately 500,000 gallons of water to produce one ton of lithium. When mining companies head into countries like Chile, they use up a majority of the region’s water, unjustly affecting small communities.

According to the Institute of Energy Research, Chile’s Salar de Atacama is one of the driest places on Earth, yet the mining companies are allowed to use up 65% of the region’s water. After the brine is removed from the salt flats, the water table automatically falls, disrupting the natural flow of water that is needed for wells and agriculture. These large-scale disruptions can always be blamed on “climate change” as the lithium mining industry plunges ahead, with no regard for the environmental damage wrought in its wake.

Water quality, wildlife populations, and crops all adversely affected by lithium mining

The toxic chemicals that are used to extract the brine are ultimately discarded into the local environment, where they contaminate streams, crops, wildlife and local ecosystems. The toxic chemicals, which include hydrochloric acid, leak from the evaporation pools and pollute the nearby water supply. Additionally, the large open pit mines displace arsenic into the nearby streams and rivers, where it will eventually deposit into agricultural land and be taken up by the crops. This downstream pollution is dangerous to wildlife, too. For example, in May of 2016, the Liqi River was polluted by the Gangizhou Rongda Lithium mine. The river turned up with dead fish, yak and cows.

The lithium mining operation in Salar de Atacama displaces more than 1,700 liters of lithium-rich brine every second of operation. This causes the lakes to shrink, killing off local flamingo populations that depend on the basin to eat and breed. In Argentina, lithium mining caused noticeable contamination of nearby streams that were used to feed livestock and irrigate crops. The residents of Salar de Hombre Muerto noticed that the groundwater flow had changed, causing water resources to disappear. They also noticed that that freshwater was contaminated with salty brine, destabilizing the local ecosystems and negatively affecting bird migration and llama populations — which the indigenous communities depend upon for economic survival.

“Like any mining process, it is invasive, it scars the landscape, it destroys the water table and it pollutes the earth and the local wells,” said Guillermo Gonzales, who spoke about the issues with lithium from the University of Chile back in 2009. “This isn’t a green solution – it’s not a solution at all.”

It is one of the great mysteries why the green movement in general is not actively campaigning against this.

  1. ancientpopeye permalink
    October 13, 2022 9:35 am

    You won’t see this on MSM, for sure.

  2. Tim Pateman permalink
    October 13, 2022 9:37 am

    ‘It is one of the great mysteries why the green movement in general is not actively campaigning against this.’

    Because it never was about the environment in the first place…….

    …….and until we produce spare ‘green’ electricity, all electric vehicles are effectively powered by coal anyway!

    • Sean permalink
      October 13, 2022 8:12 pm

      And all of the environmental destruction is happening way over there, out of sight and out of mind, so the green movement can virtue signal about how they’re switching to renewable energy without having to consider the side effects.

      • Phil O'Sophical permalink
        October 14, 2022 1:44 pm

        As Mark Mills points out in the brief clip below,
        “There is nonsuch thing as a zero emissions vehicle.
        You don’t eliminate emissions; you export them.”

        “Plans projected to increase the use of batteries will require [a massive] increase in production of minerals like Lithium, Cobalt, Zinc, …; there is not enough mining in the world to make that amount of batteries.”

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      October 14, 2022 10:28 am

      In the UK they are powered by Natural Gas with a fair bit of Nuclear. Today October, 2022 at 10:21 BST. Gas 54.27%, Nuclear 15.77%,

  3. October 13, 2022 9:42 am

    Look on the bright side; all that extra carbon dioxide being emitted will be greening the planet super stylie!! Perhaps that’s why all those EVs have green flashes on their number plates?!!

  4. Harry Passfield permalink
    October 13, 2022 9:46 am

    In order to save the planet, first we must destroy. Caroline Lucas, would you care to comment?

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      October 13, 2022 9:49 am

      ….just realised. In my comment above it was fortunate I added that full-stop!!

      • Mike Jackson permalink
        October 13, 2022 1:25 pm

        I thought it was an accident. 🥴

  5. Devoncamel permalink
    October 13, 2022 9:53 am

    I’ve said before that all Net Zero is achieving is shovelling our CO2 emissions elsewhere. The cultish obsession of green politics cannot and will not permit objective analysis of their position. Our foolish politicians and MSM are like the blind leading the blind.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      October 13, 2022 10:35 am

      I’m increasingly coming to the conclusion that our MPs and MSM are the blind being led by the WEF.

      • Vernon E permalink
        October 13, 2022 11:31 am

        Harry: How right you are. As I said a few days ago the whole climate pantomime is to distract attention away from the iniquitous Agenda 30 of the men of Davos.

      • Tim Pateman permalink
        October 13, 2022 4:54 pm

        The blind being led by the WEF or the bribed being paid by the WEF ?

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        October 14, 2022 8:56 am

        They are led by a small groups of extremist activists who are generally far left. Our politics is in thrall to a cadre of people who generally do not remotely represent the views of the majority. Whilst most are now sure climate change is a problem, few support this headlong rush to Net Zero (when given the details). Similarly very few support the mad trans agenda, the Woke culture wars or the madness of the various “health” groups. Yet these extreme views are the only ones politicians listen to and the media report. Why this has happened is incomprehensible.

      • Vernon E permalink
        October 14, 2022 2:06 pm

        Phoenix:Its not incomprehensible at all when you understand that wealth of Bill Gates and the other multi billionaires of the WEF are being thrown into it.

      • Vernon E permalink
        October 14, 2022 3:41 pm

        Phoenix: its not incomprehensible at all once you understand that Bill Gates and the other multi-billionaires of the WEF are all backing it.

    • Sylvia permalink
      October 13, 2022 3:47 pm

      CO2 emissions are GOOD !!! Every human being EXHALES CO2 every second we are alive and it is PLANT FOOD so helps us stay alive by increasing our food. NOT poisonous at all.

  6. Max Beran permalink
    October 13, 2022 10:07 am

    Don’t see anything here that’s different from any other extractive or mining industry. Surely, if we need Lithium, and clearly we do, then we should mine lithium, and deal with the local consequences through technical means like for any other activity.

    • David Calder permalink
      October 13, 2022 10:25 am

      I think the scale of the damage and the fact there is not really enough of it plus the regions that develop competitive operations based on slave labour, and the fact that nice parts of the West avoid the destruction completely make this different. And actually evil.

    • Bill permalink
      October 13, 2022 12:56 pm

      Do we need lithium? Only if AGW is real and the evidence suggests it isn’t.

      • Adam Gallon permalink
        October 13, 2022 1:16 pm

        We do need lithium, not just for EV batteries.
        I can see a role for EVs in areas where exhaust fumes are undesirable or dangerous.
        So inner cities & enclosed spaces leap to mind.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        October 13, 2022 5:39 pm

        We’ve been using battery driven vehicles in enclosed space for many decades before lithium batteries came along.
        I first came across lead acid battery powered stacker trucks over 50 years ago, and electric milk floats have been about much longer than that.

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        October 14, 2022 9:03 am

        Adam, exhaust fumes are not dangerous. Air pollution now is around 20% of what it was in the 1970s – where’s all the lives that have been saved?

      • catweazle666 permalink
        October 14, 2022 1:38 pm

        “Air pollution now is around 20% of what it was in the 1970s”
        And vastly less than that in the 1950s and 1960s before the Clean Air Acts banned the cheap coal that heated most houses, the construction new of power stations and installation of electric motors in factories replaced steam engines supplied by tens of thousands of Lancashire boilers driving the miles of lineshafts and flat belts that drove the looms etc. that comprised our industry and the steam locomotives were replaced by diesel and electric motive power.
        I experienced the last Great Smog in Manchester in the 1965 winter that closed the city down for days, the so-called air pollution today is incomparably trivial by comparison..

  7. Hugh Sharman permalink
    October 13, 2022 10:18 am

    The frightening case being made by Finland’s Geological Survey’s Simon Michaux, is that the requirement for the scarce minerals, like lithium, “essential for the delivery of the UNFCC’s “net zero” energy policy, is many times greater than the Globe can possibly deliver, let alone making the World a better place for all of life.
    Simon recently published a 1000 page Report, downloadable at It is summarised in his 19th August presentation to Queensland University at . Of course, despite the painstaking effort of collecting and analysing all that data, his findings need verification.
    But if verified, Europe, including UK, faces several generations of economic shrinkage.
    Of course, the miliarily incompetent and murderous gangster causing today’s energy crisis, MUST be defeated. But the uncomfortable fact is that Europe needs friendship and normal trade to be resumed with the Russian people as badly as the Russian peoples need the same with Europe!

    • David Calder permalink
      October 13, 2022 10:22 am

      Who is this “incompetent and murderous gangster causing today’s energy crisis”? Biden, anyone at the top of the UN or EU? BoJo already gone. Climate Change Committee perhaps? Architects of the Climate Change Act. Think Tanks behind net zero? I am confused.

      • Hugh Sharman permalink
        October 13, 2022 2:56 pm

        Thanks David! Putin’s “military engagement” can only be described as “comically” incompetent if it were not for the tens of thousands of dead and wounded young Russian and Ukrainian men, women and children and grieving family members.

        And of course, he is a murderous gangster, is he not?

        And of course, Biden, BoJo, Milliband, Theresa May, the whole of the Climate Change Committee, the UNFCC, the IEA, the whole of BEIS (?) and most of the democratically elected UK members of Parliament, the EU Commission, the BBC etc etc all share their part of the blame for impoverishing my children and grand children, all made so much worse because of Putin.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      October 13, 2022 10:40 am

      Seems you are ill-informed, the energy crisis is caused by the government’s and the EU’s drive for Net Zero. If you were taking notice, energy costs were rising long before the West and Ukraine goaded Putin to attack. Having shunned coal, failed to build any new nuclear plants, and insanely built windmills the only fuel that was left is gas. and with the insanity of failing to invest in new gas production, the world has been chasing a decreasing gas supply which has caused the costs to soar. And the idiots in charge are finding out that gas is widely used to produce things other than electricity or even heat, such as fertilisers. Blaming the Ukraine war is just incompetent politicians trying to shift their blame.

      • Hugh Sharman permalink
        October 13, 2022 3:10 pm

        Gerry! I generally agree!

        The World’s “decreasing gas (oil, coal) supply” is mostly caused by the horrible fact that one can only burn it just once.

        For most of the last 15 years, we have been burning it faster than we can find unburned oil, gas and coal!

        Simon Michaux’s work makes it crystal clear that the “net zero” dream is an unachievable night mare.

        I hope you and other fans of the truly Great, one and only Paul Homewood, down load and study Simon Michaux’s frightening analysis from the links I have provided!

      • catweazle666 permalink
        October 13, 2022 6:18 pm

        “For most of the last 15 years, we have been burning it faster than we can find unburned oil, gas and coal!”

        That’s not because there’s any shortage of available fossil fuels, there are sufficient to last for centuries yet.
        It’s because as a result of “Green” influence on banks etc. finance is no longer available for prospecting and developing new reserves.
        However, as a result of Mr. Putin’s activities this is starting to change.

      • Hugh Sharman permalink
        October 13, 2022 7:15 pm

        Hello Catweazle666! My (and Simon’s) data comes from BP’s Statistical Review, June 2022. So the data that form the basis of our own analyses are not generated from fantasy!
        You wrote “there’s any shortage of available fossil fuels, there are sufficient to last for centuries yet.”
        Your data resource for that extraordinary claim is, ummm…?
        Thanks in advance! Hugh

      • catweazle666 permalink
        October 13, 2022 7:40 pm

        “Your data resource for that extraordinary claim is, ummm…?”

        Take UK coal for a start, using steerable drilling technology and in situ gasification there are estimates of coal reserves in excess of a trillion tons under the UK both on and off shore, and the resulting gas is contains large quantities of hydrogen and carbon monoxide – Syngas AKA synthesis gas – the feedstock for the good old Fischer-Tropsch process.

        We’ve hardly scratched the surface of the shale gas and oil available globally – I notice even Germany is getting interested in its extraction now, then there are the practically inestimable amounts of methane hydrate on the World’s ocean floors, pilot extraction schemes for which are in progress in a number of sites Worldwide.

        Note especially:
        “Although the immense methane hydrate occurrences represent a risk to the climate, they are also a potential energy source. The amount of natural gas bound up in the hydrates far exceeds the natural gas reserves in conventional deposits.”

        And particularly:
        “At the same time, new technologies are being developed in Germany that may be useful for exploring and extracting the hydrates. The basic idea is very simple: the methane (CH4) is harvested from the hydrates by replacing it with CO2”
        So that makes the process effectively carbon neutral.

        And I’ve plenty more examples where they came from, so I’m pretty sure we aren’t going to run out of fossil fuels any time soon!

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        October 14, 2022 9:07 am

        Very true. The initial spike in gas prices was caused by lockdowns, as was inflation. That politicians who put in place lockdowns and the media that cheered them on aren’t admitting that is hardly a surprise.

    • Dave Andrews permalink
      October 13, 2022 5:44 pm

      Am slowly working my way through that report but it has been obvious for some time now that the EV dream is just that, a dream.

      In its Global EV Outlook 2022 the IEA estimates there could be 200m to 250m EVS worldwide by 2030 (to be on track, they say , for NZ 2050 there would need to be over 350m by then). A recent report for the European Commission
      estimated there may be 140m to 220m EVs in Europe by 2050. A new report by McKinsey in conjunction with various European Associations estimates there could be 48m BEVs & PHEVs in Europe by 2030.

      There are currently over 1.4 billion ICEVs worldwide. There is no way all those vehicles are going to be EVs by 2050.

      To return to mining. To reach those two IEA EV targets for 2030 the organisation says it would require 30 – 50 new lithium mines, 41 – 60 new nickel mines and 11 – 17 new cobalt mines. ( 82 – 127 mines in total) . They acknowledge it can take up to 16 years to bring a new mine fully on stream.

      As Michaux says the idea of net zero by 2050 is impossible to achieve as there is simply not enough time or resources to do so.

  8. October 13, 2022 10:52 am

    Trashing the fossil fuel industry by policy and by statements, then complaining about shortages and/or high prices, is where we are today. Lithium shortages and/or high prices will be another fiasco soon enough. So it goes on.

  9. Ray Sanders permalink
    October 13, 2022 11:46 am

    Seems Wikipedia do not like Natural News!
    Which begs the question, why do they even have a page about it if all they want to do is viciously discredit it?

  10. Bloke down the pub permalink
    October 13, 2022 11:46 am

    As I tweeted to Paul earlier,
    Results from an AA survey in July show ‘Respondents from London were more likely to indicate they would buy an EV if they were buying a car this year (7% in London, 4% nationally).’ Doesn’t sound like Joe Public is sold on EVs yet. @Notalotofpeopl1

  11. catweazle666 permalink
    October 13, 2022 2:03 pm

    The problem with lithium batteries for transport is the very poor energy density compared with a tank of diesel or petrol.

    “Diesel is the most efficient combustion engine fuel source, carrying 38 kilowatt hours of energy in every gallon — 27 times that of lithium ion batteries.”

    And given that many applications will more or less run the the tank full to empty, you can effectively double that.

    That means that EVs are dragging a great deal of extra weight around thus decreasing their efficiency, causing higher tyre wear – hence particulate pollution and greater damage to the road surface which increases as the fourth power of the axle weight.

    Strange how few times that gets mentioned…

    • devonblueboy permalink
      October 13, 2022 2:39 pm

      How can it be mentioned when EVs are the answer to life, the universe and everything?

      • Crowcatcher permalink
        October 13, 2022 6:08 pm

        Only 42 of them!!!

  12. iananthonyharris permalink
    October 13, 2022 5:36 pm

    Battery cars re madness on stilts. Limited range especially in winter with lights and heater on, finding and using charging points away from home-and that’s only if you have your own. Car owners living in blocks of flats or flats in terraced houses are really going to struggle. It wouldn’t surprise me if fights break out over use of on-street charging points.
    The, where’s the power coming from? There is not a fraction of the supply that will be needed and there won’t be for years.
    When you come to sell your car after 70,000 miles, it will be worthless as a replacement battery will cost more than the car’s value.
    And greener than petrol? Taking all into account, almost certainly not.
    This is nothing but hyped-up virtue-signalling, in which Government and car manufactrers are genuinely taking motorists for a ride!

    • devonblueboy permalink
      October 13, 2022 6:26 pm

      It’s even worse than the ‘diesel is healthier than petrol’ scam

  13. Hugh Sharman permalink
    October 13, 2022 7:18 pm

    @catweazle666, of course! as regards lithium battery powered EVs, we agree, completely!
    Best wishes,
    Hugh Sharman

    • catweazle666 permalink
      October 19, 2022 2:41 pm

      “It seems that a number of methods could at least reduce shortfalls… “
      And increase prices…

      “substituting copper for cheaper aluminium are two ways”
      Already been tried for domestic wiring, ceased due to increased fire hazard.
      The physical properties of aluminium relating to circuit connection, lack of corrosion resistance and electrochemical incompatibility with other materials make it far less suitable than copper for use in electrical circuits.

      Very soon it will become increasingly apparent that there are just not the facilities to extract the quantity of materials necessary for universal conversion to EVs, especially when taking into account the competition from inter alia the wind turbine industry.

      IMO EVs are the Betamax solution, we haven’t reached VHS, far less DVDs.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        October 19, 2022 2:43 pm

        Oops, this comment is addressed to Long Knoll in reply to post at October 18, 2022 11:09 pm!

  14. October 13, 2022 10:27 pm

    ‘It is one of the great mysteries why the green movement in general is not actively campaigning against this.’

    Maybe because not many of their leaders come from Chile, Argentina or Bolivia?

  15. Gamecock permalink
    October 13, 2022 10:33 pm

    ‘It is one of the great mysteries why the green movement in general is not actively campaigning against this.’

    Because they need you to accept no fossil fuel cars by 20XX. You won’t accept if there is nothing else to drive. So they foster the silly belief that all can just drive electric cars instead. Once fossil fuel cars are substantially removed from the market place, THEN, they will wail and scream about the horrors of lithium mining, and get ELECTRIC CARS BANNED, TOO.

    They don’t want you driving anything. They just can’t get you to accept it straight away, so they temporize.

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      October 14, 2022 6:40 am

      Would a horse and cart count as zero emissions?
      Like Air travel to Climate Conferences.

    • Gamecock permalink
      October 14, 2022 2:17 pm

      Let me say it another way. Some will believe that if electric cars can be killed, they’ll have to let you keep your fossil fuel cars. So that fighting the lithium environmental fight is a fight to save fossil fuel cars.

      That’s not how it works. You can’t have fossil fuel cars. You are fighting to not have electric cars, either.

      • Dave Andrews permalink
        October 15, 2022 6:00 pm

        The statistics from various sites are different but lets say there are c. 477,000EVs and 790,000 PHEVs on UK roads at the moment. So that’s almost 1.3 m ‘electric’ vehicles. There are however over 30m non electric cars on the road in the UK (and the green zealots don’t like PHEVs anyway). There are still going to be many millions of ICE cars on UK roads in 2030 and no Government will want to alienate that many people

  16. dodgy geezer permalink
    October 14, 2022 8:31 am

    The fact that Lithium mining for green power is environmentally damaging is IRRELEVANT. Similarly, the fact that Covid vaccines don’t work, or that there is no major issue with discrimination against transgender people is also irrelevant.

    In all cases, the point is to enforce obedience. It is actually MORE helpful for the required beliefs to be nonsensical – the Soviet apparatus found in the early days of the Communist Revolution that making people say they believe incorrect things is the best way to break their spirit and enforce compliance…

    • Gamecock permalink
      October 14, 2022 2:04 pm

      Amen. Theodore Dalrymple explains:

      “Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.”

    • Phil O'Sophical permalink
      October 14, 2022 2:06 pm

      Yes, we see this over and over. Someone will make a factual and logical case as to why one narrative or another is false and/or bonkers, and then shake their head and say they really don’t understand how it can still be pursued. They just don’t get it; you can’t beat them that way; it is, as you say, irrelevant. Psychopaths do not care for facts or logic or whether people suffer; they plough on with their planned narratives regardless.

  17. Long Knoll permalink
    October 16, 2022 1:57 pm

    Apart from the fact that Natural News is a very unreliable website generally, promoting anti vaccine conspiracies and various alternative medicines, the problems in the article such as acid mine drainage/lowering of the water table are not unique to electric vehicle production and are common to all mining operations, including coal extraction. But overall, across a life cycle in Europe, an electric car has about 40% the CO2 emissions of a conventional one. And the very poor environmental impact mining does generate can be dealt with too, reducing the amount of metal like cobalt and lithium in each battery, improving extraction methods, and recycling cobalt and lithium.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      October 16, 2022 8:26 pm

      The elephant in that room is that as things stand the supply of vast majority of those raw materials and much of the products that use them is increasingly under the control of the Chinese, and their concerns are not those of the “Green” movement that is promoting EVs.
      As far as I can see, this isn’t likely to change any time soon.

      As to “But overall, across a life cycle in Europe, an electric car has about 40% the CO2 emissions of a conventional one.”, Volvo, who manufacture both, say otherwise.

      • Long Knoll permalink
        October 17, 2022 2:21 pm

        I understand that the Chinese sector is growing, though by far the two biggest providers of lithium at present are Australia (which produces three times the lithium of China) and Chile, both of which had EV related booms around 2018? Then the DRC produces 55 times the cobalt of China (not that manufacturing in the DRC doesn’t raise ethical issues which need to be addressed).

        The Volvo report states that CO2 emissions for their C40 are 70% higher at the manufacturing level (which I think is widely accepted) but that across the lifetime of the C40 in Europe, emissions are only about 71% those of a comparable petrol car and this improves year on year as the energy mix becomes more renewable. The report thus encourages more investment in green energy.

        71% and falling seems pretty good, though obviously it’s quite different to my 40%. I think this is because there are a range of estimates for the emissions (my numbers were apparently calculated from Hall and Lutsey, 2018) and the C40 is compared to a similar petrol car, while the Nissan Leaf underpinning my numbers was compared to an average European car.

        If I compare the Nissan Leaf according to their life cycle assessment with a similar petrol model the figure is 67%. There was also an estimate calculated from Hall and Lutsey for the Tesla Model 3, which is similar in battery kwh to the C40 (69kwh vs 75kwh). This estimate gave lower CO2 figures than the C40 estimate. So if I scale the numbers up according to the rough differences between the estimates in the studies (which I know is crude and won’t be accurate) the Nissan Leaf would produce about 69% the emissions of an average European car.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        October 17, 2022 4:30 pm

        It isn’t just lithium that is going to be a problem for EVs.
        They use six times more minerals than a conventional vehicle, and many of them are going to be in short supply.

        This will heavily impact the sale price of EVs.

        As to pollution, firstly CO2 is not a pollutant and all modern IC vehicles have technology such as urea injection to remove NOX and particulate filters in the exhaust systems on diesels.
        There is increasing recognition of the extra particulate pollution from EVs, from the tyres and from the road surface resulting from the extra weight of the batteries which can be in excess of half a ton, a factor that seems missing from the Volvo assessment.

  18. Long Knoll permalink
    October 17, 2022 8:46 pm

    This graphic from the Air Quality Expert Group of DEFRA (2019) shows past and forecast particulate emissions from all vehicles 2000-2030. Even though pollution from tyres, breaks, and road abrasion are forecast to increase, this is not nearly as significant as past levels of pollutants from unfiltered exhaust. I’m not saying there isn’t room for improvement but that the predicted effects are not a very drastic change from now, and not comparable to pollution in the past.

    I know there are issues in the supply of some minerals, and one forecast I have heard about from E Source suggests there could be a 22% price increase for batteries 2023-2026. But this figure is in the context of an 88% fall in prices 2010-2020, and a continued fall in price after that period. E Source still projects dramatic rises in demand, they have just tempered them slightly, and it is thought there are enough reserves of the mineral to meet this.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      October 17, 2022 9:41 pm

      Heh, DEFRA…
      Oh dear…

      “this is not nearly as significant as past levels of pollutants from unfiltered exhaust”

      Disingenuous or what!

      Key phrase there is past levels of pollutants”, ie not today’s or tomorrow’s levels.

      As I have just pointed out, modern engines have vastly lower levels of pollution, the use of diesel particulate filters and NOx removal using urea and catalysts by technology such as AdBlue have lowered tailpipe pollution that now the exhaust is likely to be cleaner than the air drawn into the engine, whereas the particulate pollution from road wear and tyres will continue to be higher than from IC engined vehicles.

      Given that it will be some considerable time before the electricity used to charge your beloved EVs will be predominantly generated by fossil fuels over the vast majority of the planet, the contribution of EVs to improving the Earth’s environment will be in doubt for decades, if not for ever.

      And then there’s the massive increase in the use of minerals from the use of so-called “clean” generation that will be in competition for the increasingly scarce – hence increasingly expensive – mineral resources.

      See the diagram on page 16 of this study:

      Click to access blackrock-energy-and-resources-income-trust-plc-interim-report.pdf

      That is a matter that the EV enthusiasts appear to have overlooked.

      • Long Knoll permalink
        October 18, 2022 11:48 am

        ‘The particulate pollution from road wear and tyres will continue to be higher than from IC engine vehicles’

        I agree, but as I’ve said (and I don’t know how it was disingenuous), the rise in particulate emissions driven by increased EV use will only be very slight compared to the issue once created by unfiltered exhaust particulates, as shown by DEFRA data.

        I’ve already refuted the point about fossil fuel generated electricity use negating the effect of electric cars when I mentioned the Volvo report. In Europe, emissions from electric cars over their life cycle are around 70% or lower than those of petrol cars. According to the Volvo study this figure is about 85% for their C40 for global mixes. And the numbers are improving year on year, in the UK this has meant EV emissions for a Nissan Leaf were only 72% in 2019 of what they would have been in 2010 according to Carbon Brief calculations. And globally I can only say that renewables now make up 28% of the mix, compared to 18% in 2007.

        I don’t know what specific metals are used in a wind turbine as only copper was specified in the study. As far as I’ve seen, copper at least isn’t about to run out and cause large price spikes. And I haven’t seen that there won’t be enough reserves to handle demand, only that production must be ramped up.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        October 18, 2022 1:26 pm

        “I don’t know what specific metals are used in a wind turbine as only copper was specified in the study.”

        In that case you clearly failed to inspect page 16 of the Blackrock study.
        Here it is again, see page 16.

        Click to access blackrock-energy-and-resources-income-trust-plc-interim-report.pdf

        They are referred to in the line “1,000 tons of speciality metals and minerals e.g. copper”.
        Here is a study:,plus%20small%20amounts%20of%20praseodymium.
        As to copper:
        A Great Copper Squeeze Is Coming for the Global Economy
        The recent downturn for copper prices only stands to worsen a coming deficit as the slump discourages new investments for the metal used in EVs and power grids.

    • October 18, 2022 7:56 am

      “The Air Policy Expert Group from DEFRA”; is this the same group that advised the Government to suggest people should switch from petrol to diesel cars? Never mind the NOX, feel the lack of CO2!!
      I cannot understand why so many people are determined to use all sorts of spurious information and esoteric calculations to ‘prove’ the benefit of EVs. The whole rush to convert all ICE cars to EVs was predicated on a false premise; that of carbon dioxide being poisonous and driving ‘global warming’/’climate change’. Both of those assertions were and still are wrong.

  19. Long Knoll permalink
    October 18, 2022 11:09 pm

    “You clearly failed to inspect page 16…1,000 tons of speciality metals and minerals e.g. copper.”

    (?) That’s what I said was written in the study.

    You’re right though about the threat of a supply deficit in copper; I accept I understated this issue in my last response because some analysts are predicting issues. I reaffirm there is no risk of reserves running out, but it is a case of extracting enough of them. I read an article from S&P, which was behind the September 2022 forecast warning of a possible large deficit in copper. It seems that a number of methods could at least reduce shortfalls… Increasing the proportion of recycled copper (which is only about 1/3 and could be 100%) and in some limited scenarios substituting copper for cheaper aluminium are two ways. Higher prices will of course also lower cut off grades and make more copper available, as well as driving innovation, and they will drive down copper usage per unit as has happened with cobalt. There are also plans in some places to lower times to obtain permits for important projects which may hamper supply and introduce tax breaks.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      October 19, 2022 2:45 pm

      Sorry, please see misplaced post above at October 19, 2022 2:43 pm.

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