Mining—The dark side of the energy transition

Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 2021.


The energy transition will significantly increase demand for minerals. This might create new economic opportunities for lower-income countries with resources, but it will also augment local social and environmental problems associated with the sector. The increasing number of social and environmental conflicts associated with mining in emerging economies is a manifestation of this tension and raises questions about just energy transitions. But can mining be done in more sustainable ways? Transition studies have been largely silent on this question. In this article, we urge transitions scholars to incorporate mining into their analyses of energy transitions and briefly mention possible starting points to move in this direction.