About us




Welcome from the Project Lead

jon blundy

Jon Blundy, Royal Society Research Professor

Critical metals are essential for the Net Zero energy transition, from the manufacture of batteries and electric vehicles to the generation and transmission of renewable electricity. Meeting the anticipated demand for critical metals in a secure and sustainable fashion is a challenge of global proportions that is often overlooked when governments devise their Net Zero strategies. The Rethinking Natural Resources programme is looking at the role that magmatic systems, such as those beneath volcanoes can play in enabling the energy transition. Geothermal energy from volcanoes is used widely around the world to generate electricity. The role of volcanoes in transporting metals to Earth’s surface is rather less well known, but no less important. Remarkably, every day the world’s volcanoes emit as much copper, lithium, gold and many other so-called critical metals in their volcanic plumes as the daily mined output globally. Not surprisingly, most ore deposits are associated with ancient volcanoes. The challenge for the Rethinking Natural Resources team, comprising earth scientists, social scientists, chemists, historians, economists and lawyers, is working out to harness the natural bounty of volcanic systems in a safe, equitable and sustainable way.