An EV’s battery is made up of quite a lot of electroconductive uncommon earth parts, together with neodymium, dysprosium, and naturally, lithium. These parts are mined in massive portions everywhere in the world on the identical scale as valuable metals like gold and silver. Actually, these uncommon earth mines are debatably much more precious than gold or silver as a result of they kind the spine of our battery-powered society.
The issue right here is threefold – firstly, very like the oil pumped as much as produce gasoline, uncommon earth parts are a finite useful resource. There are solely so many veins of the stuff to be discovered all over the world, and because it turns into extra scarce, costs improve. Second, mining out these ores is a really energy-intensive course of. You want energy to gasoline all the mining gear, lights, and processing machines. Thirdly, processing ores into usable varieties produces plenty of extra waste that, a minimum of for the time being, we won’t actually do something with. A number of the waste may even be radioactive, which might be harmful for each individuals and the encompassing atmosphere.