ITAS-Kolloquium 2024

  • Veranstaltungsart:


  • Tagungsort:

    ITAS, Karlstr. 11, 76133 Karlsruhe

  • Datum:


  • Das Kolloquium findet in Raum 418 statt und wird über Zoom übertragen.

Montag, 22. Januar, 14:00 Uhr

Prof. Dr. Jochen Kolb, Chair of Geochemistry and Economic Geology, Institute of Applied Geosciences, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Energy transition and circular economy in a sustainable world need a lot more mining

Europe’s industrial development and the Green Deal chiefly depend on reliable supply of critical raw materials. The recent global situation with political reactions on war, pandemic and economic rivalry shows how fragile many supply chains are. On the other hand, Europe wants to tackle climate change and pollution by actions of the Green Deal with the energy and mobility transitions. Society’s interest in the responsible production of mineral resources is growing. The efforts of many countries and companies to reduce their emissions to net zero result in massive implementation of a wide range of clean energy technologies, many of which rely on critical raw materials.  A typical electric car requires six times the input from high-tech metals as a conventional car. Since 2010, the average amount of metals and minerals needed for a new unit of power generation capacity has increased by 50% as the share of renewables has risen. Thus, the change to a society with reduced environmental and CO2 footprint depends on a secured supply not only of an increasing volume of raw materials but also of a greater variety. Recent as well as historic supply and investment plans for critical raw materials and minerals in Europe fall short of what is needed to support the transition to clean energy technologies. In addition, conventional mining uses a lot of energy and has always an impact on our environment. Comminution alone accounts for more than 50% of a mine’s energy consumption and for at least 3% of total global electricity production. Most of the metals and construction materials that are needed for our daily life still originate from primary resources that are extracted from ore deposits via conventional mining. Despite the relatively high recycling rate for some metals like Fe, Ni, Co and Sn (>50%), import is still indispensable to satisfy the constantly increasing demand. Most of the mines, mills, smelters and refineries, however, are not located in Europe. Still, economic growth on top of energy and mobility transition, and increased resource consumption are positively correlated. Consequently, Europe’s economy and Green Deal largely depend on imported material that often originates from politically and economically unstable countries with low environmental standards. The consequences are unstable supply chains, pollution, increased CO2 footprint and precarious employment situations in the production states. A secured raw materials supply must stand on four pillars: (1) primary raw materials extraction in Europe; (2) recycling; (3) establishing complete value chains in the EU; and (4) secured supply chains from outside Europe. The major challenge is to generate public awareness of the challenges and its acceptance for raw materials industry projects.

Jochen Kolb holds the Chair of Geochemistry and Economic Geology at the Institute of Applied Geosciences, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany. He is Dean of Studies for seven geoscience degree programs. He has more than 25 years experience in economic geology research with a strong focus on orogenic gold deposits. He recently started programs on lithium resources in geothermal brines and processing of such brines. After finishing his degree in geology at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, he continued his PhD, Postdoc and Assistant Professorship at RWTH Aachen University, Germany. Before he started in Karlsruhe in 2016, he worked for 10 years as Senior Research Scientist and later as Research Professor at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. Jochen has been Associate Professor at Copenhagen University during this time. Jochen is spokesperson of the topic Georesources at the KIT Climate and Environment Centre. On top of this, he is active in various national and interdisciplinary initiatives related to raw materials, exploration, mining, processing and relationships to societal and economic development.


Der Vortrag findet hybrid statt. Melden Sie sich bei Interesse an der Zoom-Übertragung gern bei Meike Hebich. Die Vortragssprache ist Englisch.