Guillaume Pitron: Drought can influence the extraction of resources such as copper

Madrid, Dec 7 (EFE) .- The scarcity of water in some areas of the planet can make it difficult or delay the extraction of some natural resources such as rare metals or copper, essential materials currently in technology, explained the French writer and researcher Guillaume Pitron.

There are already places, such as Chile, where a court ordered a mining company in Antofagasta, capital of the province and homonymous region, a few months ago to suspend copper extraction due to the drought that some areas of the South American country are facing, Pitron said in an interview with EFE before the presentation in Madrid of the Spanish version of his book “The war of rare metals: the hidden face of the energy and digital transition” (Ediciones Península).

Given the current crisis over electricity prices in Europe and the presence of technology in all areas of daily life, Pitron’s book (Paris, 1980) clarifies the origin of most of the metals with which they are manufactured. products used by anyone, from a mobile phone to the most sophisticated medical instruments, including car batteries, light bulbs or mechanisms for household appliances, among others.

“There is something very contradictory in everything that is called green, and I am still astonished to see the words green, durable, responsible, sustainable that are used when talking about these technologies”, according to the researcher, who has ensured that these metals “are they extract at a very high ecological price, in much smaller volumes than abundant metals, and it is necessary to extract much more rock because they come out very diluted “.

He explained that “in Chile the biggest problem for mining is mainly water”, because the extractions are made in desert areas, and added that “in the Chuquicamata mine (the largest in the world located in the Antofagasta region in the north) you can consume up to 2,000 liters of water per second to refine copper ore. “

Pitron stressed that “it is water that is extracted from the groundwater table and increasingly from the ocean, with the desalination of the water that works with coal that comes from Colombia and New Zealand.”

In technology “copper is essential and in the next 30 years more copper will be consumed than what humanity has consumed from the beginning. The ecological transition represents a very small part of this consumption, but it does not stop extractivism”, a situation that little is said about, he asserted.

In general, these metals are extracted in developing countries “where regulations are lower than those of developed countries and are less respected, that is where they pay the price” for extractivism.

In this sense, it proposes two ways to obtain these fundamental metals for the technology industry: The first is “what Europe is trying to do, which is to apply standards through diligence obligations to ensure the ethical provenance of minerals”, according to Pitron. They are “increasingly stronger” obligations, which increasingly have more weight in European and national law, “it is a truth especially in France”.

Article Source