Exploring the Economics of Critical Minerals

A Critical Piece of the Energy Transition

Last year, over 800,000 electric vehicles were sold in the United States—65% more than 2022, but far from the amount that will be sold over the next decade. But ramping up production of electric vehicles isn’t just dependent on labor, steel, or computer chips—inside every electric car is a massive battery, containing more than a dozen pounds of critical minerals like copper, lithium, and cobalt—all mined from the earth.

The economics of critical minerals play an essential role in deploying the technologies needed for a low-carbon future. As demand skyrockets for these minerals, so do concerns about their availability, security, cost, and the environmental impacts from extraction and processing.

The critical minerals challenge is a complex issue, but it’s one that Resources for the Future (RFF) is uniquely qualified to help solve.

Our experts are already bringing their brightest economic thinking to bear, conducting rigorous research and engaging with decisionmakers to ensure that policies will enhance the reliability and affordability of critical minerals supplies.

But we’re still in the infancy of our journey, and many more decisions will need to be made as the global appetite for critical minerals increases. RFF can continue to lead at the forefront of these issues, serving as a steward for these natural resources, but we need your help.

Much of our research—like our work on critical minerals—receives most of its funding from donors like you. Your support helps us identify and explore pressing questions as they arise, advise key decisionmakers, and share our findings—ensuring that the demand for critical minerals won’t stand in the way of our global decarbonization goals. Will you join us and renew your support today?

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