Hotspots of Mining-Related Biodiversity Loss in Global Supply Chains and the Potential for Reduction through Renewable Electricity

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Livia Cabernard, Stephan Pfister


Anticipated infrastructure growth and energy transition may exacerbate biodiversity loss through increased demand for mining products. This study uses an enhanced multi-regional input-output database (REX, Resolved EXIOBASE) and supply chain impact mapping (SCIM) method to assess global biodiversity loss associated with mining-related land use. We identify hotspots in the supply chain of mining products, compare the impact of fossil and renewable electricity, and estimate the share of mining in total global impacts. We found that half of the global mining-related biodiversity loss occurs in Indonesia, Australia and New Caledonia. Major international trade flows of embodied biodiversity loss involve Indonesia’s coal exports to China and India, New Caledonia’s nickel exports to Japan and Australia, and Australia’s iron and bauxite exports to China. Key end-consumers include China’s growing infrastructure and the EU’s and USA’s households-consumption. Electricity generation accounted for 10% of global mining-related biodiversity loss in 2014. The impact of coal-fired electricity was ten times higher than renewables per unit of electricity generated. Globally, mining contributes to less than 1% of total land-use related biodiversity loss, which is dominated by agriculture. Our results provide transparency in sourcing more sustainable mining products and underline synergies in fostering renewables to meet local biodiversity and global climate targets.





multi-regional input-output analysis, metals, coal, biodiversity loss footprint, land use, regionalized impact assessment, sustainable mining, international trade


Published: 2022-06-15 21:53

Last Updated: 2022-11-03 23:14

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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Conflict of interest statement:
The authors declare no competing interests.

Data Availability (Reason not available):
Link to our database (open access once the paper is accepted):

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