In every issue of MINE, we examine some familiar but complex trends: the energy transition, the rise of technology, and the efforts to make mining a more socially-beneficial cornerstone of societies across the world. This month, we ask: who will benefit from these trends?

As the world hungers for battery metals, leaders in South America’s “lithium triangle” ask: can South American countries realistically form a “lithium cartel”, and how would “OPEC for lithium” change the game?

Analysts expect platinum production will soon leap from over-supply to severe deficit. What role do investors play, and will miners be able to benefit from platinum’s boom and bust cycle?

At the other end, we look at whether efforts to formalise the “informal” industry of artisanal mining can work for everyone. Finally, will increasing automation benefit the miners at the rockface, or only simplify management?

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In this issue

Power play: How lithium demand could spawn “the new OPEC”

Lithium in Chile. Credit: Lucas Aguayo Araos/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has defined oil trade in the 21st Century and enhanced the power of its members. Could a lithium cartel do the same for South America? Kit Million Ross speaks to Boris Ivanov of Emiral Resources about the possibility.

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Losing its lustre: behind the growing platinum deficit

Platinum mines face power problems in South Africa. Credit: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

Investors are driving platinum prices up as a production surplus turns into a heavy deficit. Giles Crosse speaks to the World Platinum Investor Council about the causes, and the near future of the metal.

The future of artisanal mining: formalising an informal trade?

Small-scale gold mining in the DRC. Credit: Lionel Healing/AFP via Getty Images.

Consumer economies know the ethical risks of artisanal mining, but insist on consuming its product. Nnamdi Anyadike considers the future of small-scale artisanal mining.

How can sensor-based ore sorting turn waste into wealth?

Crushed ore for sorting. Photo by Wirestock Creators via Shutterstock.

Ashima Sharma takes a look at how sensor-based sorting of low-grade ores can improve the efficiency and sustainability of natural resource use.

The automated devices promising big change in mining

Drills at the rockface. Credit: Mishainik via Shutterstock.

Nnamdi Anyadike speaks to Sweden’s Epiroc about the rising tide of automated devices and how they affect mine owners and workers.