Its participants from more than 20 countries discussed the prospects for the development of the global mineral sector.
On Thursday, May 26; the 9th International Conference on Energy, Resources, Environment and Sustainable Development (ERESD 2022) started in Xuzhou, China. It is traditionally organized by the China University of Mining and Technology (CUMT), which this year invited its partner, the St. Petersburg Mining University, to become a co-organizer of this high-profile event.
The relevance of the topics discussed in it is beyond doubt. After all, the well-being of any state is based on natural resources, primarily hydrocarbons and strategic metals. However, in recent years, largely as a result of ill-conceived sanctions and investment policy of Western countries, the global market is forced to live in conditions of their scarcity and high prices for raw materials. In such realities, as Rector Vladimir Litvinenko of the Mining University noted, the ability of states to act as market regulators is of particular importance.
"A global transition to sustainable development requires a fundamental change in current consumption and production patterns. It is also necessary to improve the reliability of the scientific facts about the use of natural resources. Commodity economies have a special mission to perform. Firstly, to take on the responsibility of market equilibrium, meaning balancing supply and demand. And second, to minimize the environmental problems that arise during the exploitation of deposits, the production of metals and the burning of fossil fuels in thermal power plants. To look for new ways to improve the sustainability of the mining industry," emphasized Vladimir Litvinenko.
Among the main challenges facing the mineral sector today, he named insufficient growth in reserves due to underfunding of the industry amid rising demand for resources, as well as the introduction of new social and environmental obligations for subsoil users. They increase the payback period of projects and make them less interesting for business.
"Ensuring the stimulation of economic growth and the creation of new jobs is only possible if the government actively, professionally and transparently manages the entire cycle, from extraction of minerals to their use. Naturally, we are not talking about the government taking over the function of employer, as this is not constructive, but rather about the need to create rules and requirements that are clear to all market participants. Starting from regulation of production volumes or greenhouse gas emissions and ending with increase of resources consumption efficiency by reducing losses during their transportation, implementation of technologies that optimize their use and energy saving," - stated Vladimir Litvinenko, as he called on scientific, educational and business communities of different countries to unite for solution of challenges the industry is facing.
Song Xuefeng, president of the China University of Mining and Technology, called his St. Petersburg colleagues "reliable and valuable partners". And the sustainability of the mining and oil and gas sectors is "a prerequisite for achieving harmony between people and nature". He also noted that this year's conference, which is held in a mixed format (some delegates speak online), is becoming more and more popular every year. The geography of its participants, who represent almost all regions of the world, is also growing.
"There is no doubt that our civilization will continue to need minerals. Therefore, we must first of all think about finding the best solutions to achieve a balance between human development and the exploitation of natural resources. We need to work on innovations that will achieve this balance, including in coal mining, the most important industry on which energy supplies and the quality of life of billions of people around the world depend," Song Xuefeng said to the forum participants.
Among them were many well-known people in the international scientific and educational community. For example, Jerzy Lis, Rector of the Krakow Academy of Mining and Metallurgy (AGH University of Science and Technology, Poland), Yingxin Zhou, member of the Academy of Engineering of Singapore, and Jan Cilliers, professor at the Royal Academy of Engineering of Great Britain. The latter made a presentation on mining on the Moon. In particular, he presented a specific technological scheme for enriching regolith, i.e. surface soil, and extracting oxygen or metals from it.
Representatives of the St. Petersburg Mining University were also invited as participants in the breakout sessions. Thus, the head of the Faculty of Geoecology Maria Pashkevich spoke about modern methods of monitoring the effectiveness of reclamation of waste coal deposits. And Oleg Kazanin, Dean of the Mining Faculty, spoke about managing methane emissions at mine sites.