There is truly something special about the month of May. Here in the UK, and across much of the Northern Hemisphere, May marks the height of Spring and the start of Summer. A time for optimism and new beginnings.
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To quote Nicholas Breton, poet and prose writer of the English Renaissance, “it is now May… It is the month wherein Nature hath her fill of mirth, and the senses are filled with delights. I conclude, it is from the Heavens a grace, and to Earth a gladness.” Likewise, Edwin Way Teale, American naturalist, photographer and writer, once wrote: “The world’s favourite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.” This sentiment of optimism and endless possibilities can not only be found in the words of writers of times gone by, it can be seen in the world all around us, and especially in the mining industry, for which the year is off to a strong start.
With the gauntlet of fast-tracking the green transition, post-haste, laid down by the COP26 Climate Change Conference back in November 2021, battery materials demand continues to hit new highs – for example, McKinsey is projecting rapid growth in global demand for lithium alone between 2025 and 2030.1 Furthermore, with the shadow and disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic seemingly starting to lift, projects around the world have begun resuming normal operations. Both of these trends have contributed significantly to a growing sense of sanguinity, which has been spreading across the mining industry.
I had the privilege of experiencing this optimism first-hand back in March, when I attended MINEXCHANGE 2022 SME Annual Conference & Expo in Salt Lake City, Utah. With over a greater-than-expected 5000 attendees in attendance, 480 exhibitors, and 430 presentations/papers delivered over 88 different technical sessions, the atmosphere was fantastic. Moreover, with all the new technologies on display and ideas being discussed, there was plenty to be excited about.
With trade-shows and exhibitions evidently back to business as near normal as possible, there is much for the mining industry to look forward to this Summer. Indeed, don’t miss the chance to grab a print copy of this issue of Global Mining Review at Elko Mining Expo in Nevada (6 – 10 June), and upcoming our June issue at the PDAC 2022 Convention in Toronto (13 – 15 June in person, 28 – 29 June online).
In the meantime, make sure to check out the rest of this issue next. In particular, on pages 10 – 12, The World Gold Council provides our latest special report on gold; discussing the importance of addressing both the risks and positive ESG impacts of the gold mining sector. Likewise, don’t miss the latest insights from this month’s cover advertiser, Nokia, on pages 30 – 33, which include an evaluation of the benefits of private wireless networks as mines go deeper underground.
Optimism does by no means diminish the necessity of hard work, and there is certainly plenty of that in store for the mining industry, but it can make all the difference in sustaining efforts along the road to breakthroughs and eventual success.
This all being said, one cannot ignore the gravity of the events playing out before our eyes in Ukraine. Not only does the scale of the humanitarian crisis continue to grow, but the fallout of the Russian invasion has caused a ripple effect that continues to have significant implications for markets and industries all over the world, and not least the mining industry. As Reuters has reported, while on one hand mining companies have benefitted from soaring commodity prices, they are also faced with the threat of high inflation that could follow, with the potential for a significant blow to be struck to short-term demand and a slowdown in growth.2
To conclude, clearly there is a lot for the mining industry to feel good about this May, but, of course, it does not exist in isolation from the rest of the world. The impacts of the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict cannot be ignored, and will require us all to carefully re-asses our plans and expectations for the rest of the year.
- AZEVEDO, M., BACZYNSKA, M., HOFFMAN, K., and KRAUZE, A., ‘Lithium mining: How new production technologies could fuel the global EV revolution’, McKinsey & Company, (12 April 2022).
- DENINA, C., and MENON, P., ‘Mining companies may pause growth plans amid Ukraine war, inflation’, Reuters, (3 March 2022).