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Google It: Google Supports Mining

by Daniel McGroarty

Google now supports mining?  Not just the crypto kind, or the data kind, but mining mining, the 400-ton-hauler-and-60-ton-bucket-hydraulic-shovel kind.

Don’t believe me?  You can Google it:  tap in Google supports mining?  Click on the first article, from GreenBiz:

“Google exec: ‘Significant mining’ is key to net zero”

You’ll see that Google has moved from support for “urban mining” – recycling the mountains of cell phones and other electronic gadgets we generate as we upgrade to new devices – to the kind of mining that’s not a metaphor, involving extracting metals and minerals from the ground.

So says Google exec Mike Werner, head of circular economy at the company, as reported by GreenBiz.  Urban mining “…won’t be enough to uncover all the minerals and metals to make new Google hardware that is sustainably sourced or to meet the needs of the clean energy systems behind the company’s net-zero goals, according to Mike Werner, head of circular economy for Google. ‘We’ve done some modeling, and it’s pretty clear that we are not going to reach net zero without significant mining,’ Werner told an audience last week at the Circularity 23 conference. ‘I don’t know that the broad sustainability community has really understood that.’”     

Werner reiterated that “while urban mining will ‘play an important role into the market, it is insufficient to meet the demands of net zero.’”

As I’ve said since the early days of ARPN, however much our new world moves cell calls through the air and data to the Cloud, the invisible hand of technology hides the fact that, as in the old George Carlin monologue, our stuff is still made of stuff.  Without access to the requisite materials in the required supply, the United States will continue to be a place where the stuff we buy may say “Designed in the U.S.,” but “Made in China,” or some other country, as factories move to where the metals are.

So hats off to Google, as it comes to grips with the mineral and metals intensity of our new world, and what that means for resource exploration, development and production.  The Tech Metals Age is here to stay.