Business Climate Community Development Mining

COP27: Ensuring transition minerals don’t undermine just, equitable energy transition

Transition minerals

The world needs to stop burning fossil fuels. Climate change is already happening and to prevent the worst impacts we must accelerate the just transition to cleaner, safer energy.

In moving to renewable energy technologies, the world will be swapping reliance on one set of natural resources for another. An estimated sixfold increase in the production of minerals such as cobalt, lithium, nickel, and copper will be required to help produce, transport, store, and use electricity produced by cleaner sources such as wind, water, and sun.

But the extraction of minerals is already beset by corruption and opacity, and mining often takes place at great cost to the health and livelihoods of local people. Research indicates that women and girls, Indigenous peoples, and environmental defenders are disproportionately harmed by mining. Local communities are often excluded from decision-making and see little economic benefit from extraction. The sector is also environmentally damaging and contributes significantly to climate change.

Fierce competition, demand, and pursuit of profit in the transition mineral rush will increase pressure on producing countries to “fast-track” licensing and open up mining in sensitive and high-risk areas. This leaves the process open to corruption and worsens human rights and environmental abuses, in particular pollution and contamination of water and land gravely affecting the health of workers and surrounding populations. These impacts are already felt most by indigenous and land-based communities on the front lines of extraction.

Mining for transition minerals which is marred by poor governance, corruption, overconsumption, and little care for people and the planet will only slow climate action.

Huge amounts of resources will be flowing into the energy sources of the future. It is vital that the emerging transition minerals market is well-regulated, transparent, just, and equitable, and does not replicate the exploitation and injustices of the past. This requires an urgent coordinated effort to transform the way minerals are extracted and consumed.

COP27 is an important moment for the international community to initiate a real shift in the way minerals are extracted and used, and secure binding commitments to tackle climate change. Failing to put people at the center of the required energy transition will result in it being both inadequate to tackle the climate crisis, and unjust for the most vulnerable people in the world.

To ensure responsible extraction, sourcing, and processing of transition minerals that contribute to a successful energy transition, governments, companies, international institutions, and investors must:

Centre people & planet:

  • Base the decision to extract on a holistic assessment of the true costs and benefits of minerals extraction and processing. This goes beyond mineral sales proceeds, to look at the impact on people, the environment, biodiversity and the climate.
  • Respect mining-exclusion zones to protect people and the environment in high-risk areas.
  • Ensure meaningful consultation and participation for all communities affected by mining. Indigenous peoples’ Free, Prior and Informed Consent must be prioritised and respected, including the right to give or withhold consent as aligned with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Only extract minerals in line with the most rigorous international human rights and environmental standards through meaningful, transparent and gender-responsive mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence. Guarantee effective, independent monitoring of mitigation and corrective measures.
  • Support a global moratorium on deep sea mining until adequate scientific research is undertaken to understand the impacts on deep sea biodiversity, and ensure decision-making at the international level – including by the International Seabed Authority, is transparent, accountable, inclusive, and participatory.
  • Develop and prioritise mining approaches that minimise social, environmental and climate impacts. This includes cooperating to design circular solutions and technologies that reduce the overall consumption of transition minerals, increase reuse, and reduce the carbon footprint of the sector. 

Strengthen governance and anti-corruption:

  • Adopt and champion the comprehensive disclosure of contracts and licences (including annexes), project-level payments to governments by mining companies and commodity traders, beneficial ownership information, and transparency in the procurement of goods and services. The EITI Standard is a starting point to ensure transparency in mineral extraction.
  • Explicitly identify and mitigate corruption risks throughout all activities and operations, with specific attention paid to high risk processes such as the award of licenses, permits and approvals, procurement, commodity sales and trading, and state-owned companies. The OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals is a starting point to initiate this work.
  • Implement Integrity Due Diligence, including fit and proper person criteria, to all participants in the mineral supply chain.
  • Implement legal frameworks to protect the rights of activists, whistle-blowers, human rights and land defenders, journalists and independent media, and dismantle laws and policies that hinder free civil society and media.

 

Ensure a globally equitable transition:

  • Prevent political and business elites from capturing transition minerals for personal profit. This lowers the benefit to the citizens, deepens inequalities, and increases the costs of transition minerals.
  • Implement transparent and equitable proceeds and tax management, including planning for proceeds volatility. Allocate proceeds to sustainable development projects that enable a just transition and economic diversification and ensure that frontline communities – particularly women – see benefits from mining.
  • Ensure transition minerals drive a truly global energy transition for all countries, not just developed countries. This includes ensuring global support and investment to enable host countries to develop stronger economies and employment, for example through in-country processing of transition minerals and local procurement.
  • Prioritise policies and investments aimed at reducing consumption, including increasing funding and resources for public transport, energy efficiency, and other demand reduction initiatives, and through investing in materials recycling and reuse.
  • Create and strengthen safe global, national, and local spaces where people can engage meaningfully on energy transition policy and legislation, with particular attention given to spaces for traditionally marginalised groups such as women and gender minorities, Indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, and young people.https://zela.org/transition-minerals-open-statement-for-cop27/

Signatory organisations:

 

Publish What You PayGlobal/United Kingdom
Business & Human Rights Resource CentreGlobal/United Kingdom
Deep Sea Mining CampaignGlobal
EarthjusticeGlobal/United States
EarthRights InternationalGlobal/United States
EarthworksGlobal/United States
Environmental Defender Law CenterGlobal/United States
Global WitnessGlobal/United Kingdom
Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI)Global/US
Open Contracting PartnershipGlobal/US
Open Society FoundationsGlobal
OxfamGlobal
Society for Threatened PeoplesGlobal/Switzerland
The Future We NeedGlobal
Transparency International SecretariatGlobal/Germany
African Climate FoundationAfrica
Institut Panos Afrique de l’OuestAfrica/Senegal
PACJAAfrica/Senegal
Tax Justice Network AfricaAfrica
Albanian Center for development and IntegrationAlbania
Centre for Transparency and Freedom of InformationAlbania
Legisladores x el Ambiente ALCArgentina
Observatorio Petrolero SurArgentina
Jubilee Australia Research CentreAustralia
Nook StudiosAustralia
PWYP AustraliaAustralia
SJ Around the BayAustralia
Transparency International AustraliaAustralia
“Constitution” Researches FoundationAzerbaijan
“Young Leaders” Education-Training and Development Publc UnionAzerbaijan
Agricultural industrial engineers PUAzerbaijan
Care for the elderlu intelectuals PUAzerbaijan
Democracy Monitor PUAzerbaijan
Fund “Constitution” Researches FoundationAzerbaijan
Oil Workers’ Rights Protection Organization Public UnionAzerbaijan
Social Strategicall Recerh and Analiticall Investigation Public UnionAzerbaijan
Young Power in Social Action (YPSA)Bangladesh
Fundacion JubileoBolivia
Instituto Brasileiro de Análises Sociais e Econômicas (Ibase)Brazil
Instituto TalanoaBrazil
ABDER-BIO-DEVBurkina Faso
Coalition Mine’Alert PCQVP-BFBurkina Faso
PCQVP Burkina FasoBurkina Faso
Plateforme Tenures foncière, forestière, genre et changement climatique (TENFOREST)Burkina Faso
AGAGES MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTSCameroun
CAFAGB (CELLULE ASSOCIATIVE DES FEMMES ACTIVES POUR LA GOUVERNANCE LES DROITS HUMAINS ET LE BIEN-ETRECameroun
CRADECCameroun
Engineers Without Borders CanadaCanada
MiningWatch CanadaCanada
CIEDD-RCACentral African Republic
Femme et Environnement “BG”Central African Republic
Fundación TantíChile
Fundación TerramChile
ABC COLOMBIA- SOMOS TERRITORIOColombia
Corporación ConciudadaníaColombia
Fundación AvinaColombia
Fundación Foro Nacional por ColombiaColombia
Fundación Foro Nacional por Colombia – Capítulo suroccidenteColombia
Mesa de Sociedad Civil para la Transparencia en las Industrias ExtractivasColombia
Pastoral Social Regional Suroriente ColombianoColombia
Transparencia por ColombiaColombia
ACAT-CongoCongo Republic
PCQVP CongoCongo Republic
Rencontre pour la Paix et les Droits de l’Homme (RPDH)Congo Republic
ASADHODemocratic Republic of Congo
Centre National d’appui au développement et à la participation populaire , CENADEPDemocratic Republic of Congo
Grupo FAROEcuador
CEID_GEEquatorial Guinea
International Business and Economic Development CenterGeorgia
Heinrich-Böll FoundationGermany
Transparency International Deutschland e.V.Germany
Fundación Prosperiti GuatecivicaGuatemala
Coordinación de ONG y Cooperativas CONGCOOPGuatemala
Coligação Publicar o Que Você PagaGuiné-Bissau
Action Mines GuinéeGuinea
Association Guinéenne pour la TransparenceGuinea
CECIDEGuinea
Confédération Nationale des Travailleurs de GuinéeGuinea
Féderation Syndicale Professionnelle de Mines, Carrieres, Industries Chimiques et Assimilées- FSPMCICA – CNTGGuinea
Mohamed CisséGuinea
Observatoire Guinéen des Mines et Métaux (OGMM)Guinea
PCQVP GuinéeGuinea
Anchalik Surakshya CommitteeIndia
ENVIRONICS TRUSTIndia
Goa FoundationIndia
Mineral Inheritors Rights AssociationIndia

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende