PwC report: mining companies facing huge demand for critical minerals

The world’s biggest mining companies must respond to rapidly rising demand for critical minerals ahead of the global energy transition, according to a new report by auditing giant PwC.

PwC’s 19th annual review of the top 40 mining companies, which examines global trends in the industry, said that the future success of the energy transition will depend on whether global miners can take a leading role by investing in critical minerals.

The report revealed that the top players in the industry have the funds to do it, with the revenues of top mining companies rising by 32% last year on the back of high commodity prices across the board. Their combined net profit reached US$159 billion last year – a huge 127% increase from the $70 billion recorded in 2020.

However, global mining leader at PwC, Paul Bendall, said: “Demand for critical minerals continues to surge, operating environments are getting more challenging and new players are emerging.

“Companies need to position themselves to meet the growing demands for critical minerals, evolving customer expectations and the need to innovate to deliver higher value across the entire supply chain.”

Annual critical minerals demand from clean energy technologies will reach more than $400 billion by 2050, according to latest figures from the International Energy Agency.

To meet this demand, PwC noted that sector players must overcome obstacles including development timelines, price volatility, geopolitical risks, stakeholder expectations, economies of scale and economic resource scarcity.