The Mineral Politics of the Just transitions with Thea Riofrancos

Monday, January 8, 2024

Image by Christophe Meneboeuf

To say the modern world is dependent on materials we dig out of the ground is an understatement. From the lithium in your phone battery to the cup you're drinking your tea in, mining and mineral extraction play a vital part of how survive on earth.With the race to get off fossil fuels, and electrify our entire transport network kicking off, dependency on rare earth minerals like lithium  is going to increase, and the conditions of the people mining it brought ever to our attention.

This week on the show Lucy and Andrew are  joined by  Thea Riofrancos, Professor at Providence College in the US and the author of "Resource Radicals" and "A Planet to Win".  They discuss how Lithium is a key resource when it comes to the transition away from fossil fuels, how mineral exploitation in South America has shaped the politics of the region and how Unions are now driving the just transition in the Americas.


Check out Thea's website here

The Lithium Problem (interview by Alyssa Battistoni). Dissent, 2023.

Electric vehicles alone won’t take us to a decarbonized future. The Hill, 2023

Chile: White Gold Rush. Chatham House’s The World Today, 2022

Shifting Mining from the Global South Misses the Point of Climate Justice. Foreign Policy, 2022

Shout Outs

Friend of the show Asad Rahman of War on Want, for his stirring speech at COP 28 on Palestine.