Can Mining Make the World a Greener Place?

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You can ask questions while the talk is happening. Head to the video on YouTube and type your question into the chat box during the broadcast.

Mining for new metals and minerals is vital to green technologies including solar panels, wind turbines and electric cars.  Precious metals power our mobile phones and laptops.

How does this fit with sustainable green futures? Can we even source enough of these metals to support this? Join an international panel of experts as they discuss our growing demand for new technologies, and the natural resources we need to create them.

BBC science presenter Professor Iain Stewart will host a live debate on mining and its role in society. Together, we'll imagine how the planet could look in 2050 and discover how we can all play a part in creating the world we'd like to live in. Pitch your ideas and pose questions to the experts. 

  • This talk is part of series of six events running on 3 and 4 December, discussing mining and its role in society. Find out more.
  • This event is held in partnership with the EU-funded INFACT project, exploring innovative, non-invasive and acceptable exploration technologies.

Setting the scene

By 2058 the Green Stone Age is established, and we will use all elements in the periodic system and more rare minerals to support new materials and technological solutions. The major energy supplies will be CO2 free. The agriculture will be more efficient, distribution and consumption of food will be more rational, and we will harvest from more marine food chains than today.

More than 70% of the people on Earth will live in megacities and urban areas. Our cities will become smarter and greener, cars and public transport will be self-driving and autonomous tools using artificial intelligence to automate functions previously performed by humans. Substantial resources will be used to repair damaged ecosystems, and most important, we will use materials and products that have fewer negative consequences for the environment.

REF: Smelror, M., 2020. Geology for society in 2058: some down-to-earth perspectives. Geological Society, London, Special Publications499.

Event dates