We must move away from our reliance on hydrocarbons towards the aspirational NetZero goal. Perhaps underappreciated is that to accomplish this we need access to increasing quantities of metals. Mining will become more and more important to ensure our progress into the envisioned carbon-emissions-free Gig economy, and Canada has been a world-leader in mining. However, all easy-to-find mineral deposits have been found, and global demand is fast outstripping supply for all essential metals, despite all recycling scenarios. As one example, this year the demand for lithium will be greater than the supply, causing a throttling of the explosive growth of uptake of lithium batteries used in all sorts of applications. Exploration within Canada for new deposits needs to become more holistic, requiring training of a different type of geoscientist. But geoscience programmes across Canada are under threat due to low enrolments. Unless dealt with at a national level very quickly, the lack of appreciation of all of these factors will mean Canada’s growth will not be as successful as it could be.
Professor Alan Jones is a geophysicist with 50 years experience having undertaken projects in Europe, Canada, China, and Africa. Alan spent 20 years at the Geological Survey of Canada, rising to the top level of the Research Scientist category. He then spent 11 years in Ireland as Senior Professor and Head of Geophysics at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, appointed by the-then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. Alan returned to Canada in 2015 and now runs a consulting company. He is the most published and most cited scientist in his field of natural-source electromagnetic exploration of the Earth, and has accolades from Europe (Member, Academia Europea), Ireland (Member, Royal Irish Academy), Canada (J Tuzo Wilson medal of the Canadian Geophysical Union), USA (Fellow, American Geophysical Union), and South Africa (Lifetime member, Geological Society of South Africa).
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