Global Energy Transitions Encounter Industrial Legacies on the Kazakh Steppe:
Who’s Doing the Dirty Job for the “Clean” Future?
Would you like a metallurgical plant in your backyard?
The world is hungry for minerals as countries pursue green energy transitions. Decarbonization necessitates substantial scale-ups of renewable energy and electric vehicle (EV) deployment, which will put an unprecedented strain on Earth's mineral resources, surpassing current extraction levels. Can Kazakhstan, a country abundant in mineral wealth, become a new frontier for global mineral supplies?
This case zooms in on Kazakhstan’s most important copper-producing region, Zhezkazgan, and discusses the environmental justice implications of incorporating the region into the global “clean” energy supply chains for local communities. We will start with a recent investment case on local manufacturing of wind turbine towers, and explore pathways to make sure new “green” investments do justice to upstream suppliers, who have historically been doing the dirty job to make other parts of the world clean and beautiful.