Demand for primary metals and minerals is projected to escalate over the next 30 years, driven by rising global population, economic growth and rapid urbanization, and the spread of digital technologies and low-carbon / renewable energy solutions (e.g., for generation and energy storage). The International Financial Institution has identified the transition to a low-carbon economy will result in increased primary demand for metals that include aluminum, copper, lithium, silver, nickel, lead, zinc, and others – some of which are in short supply. At the same time, the negative impacts of mining activities have come under increasing scrutiny as a result of major tailings dam failures and high-profile land, water, and community conflicts around the world.


As pressures mount to address social, environmental, and economic challenges in a more coherent and effective way, circular economy strategies provide a solution to helping minimize the mining sector’s impact through improved mine site practices, as well as improved material stewardship, secondary materials use, and enhanced resource recovery.


The Circular Metals and Minerals work stream will explore issues and actions throughout the full supply chain, from the mine site, to consumer products design and use, including the role of investment and finance. It will examine how to incentivize better methods of extraction, processing, manufacturing, use and re-use of minerals products and services. The outcomes will focus on specific short and long term actions that various private and public actors can take individually and collectively to optimize the many values associated with circular economy strategies in the sector.