On 14 July 2022 KIELTYKA GLADKOWSKI KG LEGAL took part in the webinar organised by The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The webinar covered the topic of critical materials for energy transitioning, particularly focusing on deep-sea mining.
IRENA is an intergovernmental organisation that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future, and serves as the principal platform for international cooperation, a centre of excellence, and a repository of policy, technology, resource and financial knowledge on renewable energy. The aim of the webinar was mostly to acknowledge the participants of the development and ongoing researches about deep-sea mining in the light of the environmental issues.
The speakers of the webinar involved:
The energy transition is driving increased demand for the use of critical materials for technologies such as batteries, electric motors, wind turbines, solar PV panels and electrolysers. The demand for critical materials, such as copper, nickel, lithium and neodymium is shown to be rapidly growing, mostly due to the mass electrification and deployment of renewables. While the energy transition is the valid way to halt the climate threat, the terrestrial mining of crucial materials may be, aside of the risk of quick supply deficit, the excessive interference with tropical forests and their destruction.
The speakers’ organisations are continuously developing the idea and technology of an unconventional resource, which doesn’t need hard-rock mining and fixed infrastructure. The idea mostly focuses on deep-sea mining of polymetallic nodules (Fe-Mn nodules, formed on Seamount, and which are also forming Fe-Mn crusts over time) that are on the seabed. Technologies are being currently developed in three directions:
During the webinar, powerful statements were expressed by the Ambassador of Nauru, Margo Deiye, about Nauru’s existential threat connected to the climate changes and Nauru’s contribution to halting the irreversible consequences of world’s biggest countries’ energy strategy. Climate crisis poses and underappreciated risk for pacific island countries’ future existence, and while Nauru’s efforts may be immense, without the participation of the big countries in transition to clean, renewable energy, it may not be enough.
Energy law and complex aspects of energy transformation, regulatory and corporate issues remain within the specialisation of cross border expertise of KIELTYKA GLADKOWSKI KG LEGAL.