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12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Join a two-webinar series and find out if mining metals for the energy and digital transitions can occur while protecting human rights and preserving the environment.

About the Event

Which metals for a fair transition?

During May and June, we will organise two webinars revolving around this topic. While the first debate will focus on the extraction aspects in the south (working conditions, regulations, due diligence…), the second will tackle consumption and production in Europe (reopening mines in Europe, lower consumption, circular economy, recycling, technology design, low tech…)

Our main guiding questions will be to:

  • Between the efforts for supply chain responsibility and the development of new technologies, can Europe ensure a fair supply of metals? Can we move beyond extractivism?
  • Can Europe make a more sparing, circular use of metals for its transitions? What would that mean for our lifestyles?


Like all European countries, Belgium imports large quantities of rare metals such as cobalt, germanium, lithium, and coltan through complex and opaque supply chains.
These metals are now the subject of particular attention in European policies. This is for at least two reasons which raise some rather contradictory issues and involve very different actors: it is, on the one hand, to ensure a constant supply to support the growth of the development of renewable energies and digital technologies (solar panels, electric cars, wind turbines, smartphones, smart cities…) and on the other hand to make sure not to contribute to socially and ecologically objectionable forms of mining (work conditions sometimes close to slavery, child labour, destruction of ecosystems in producing countries… ).

The Democratic Republic of Congo, with which Belgium has a tumultuous historical relationship, illustrates the current difficulties in reconciling these two issues. Between neo-colonialism and extractivism, Congo provides 60% of the world’s cobalt and 40% of coltan, and yet remains one of the poorest countries in the world.

How can mining be technically and socially modernised to stop child labour and minimise environmental damage? How to deal with the limits of due diligence in Europe? What is being done today in European and Congolese policies to improve the conditions for metal extraction?
As far as demand is concerned, can the EU limit the need for imported virgin metals while ensuring a rapid energy transition and a responsible digital transition? For example, by stimulating the recycling and substitution of rare metals, re-opening mines within its borders, or reducing the overconsumption of kilowatt-hours and megabytes?



– Olivier Derruine, Economist, Parliamentary Assistant to Saskia Bricmont MEP, European Parliament

– Jean-Claude Mputu, Congolese political scientist

– Sabine Kakunga, Central Africa Program Officer (CNCD-11.11.11)

– Frédéric Thomas, Doctor of political sciences, lecturer (CETRI)

-Jean Pierre PUPO KIKWATI, from the “Confédération Syndicale du Congo (CSC)



Date and time: Monday, 3rd May from 12:00 to 14:00 CET.

Audience: This webinar will take place in French and is open to the general public

Registration: Click here

Please note the event will be organised through the ZOOM platform, with Facebook live, Etopia Radio and the local Brussels Radio station.

Zoom Link: Here

RadioEtopia: Here

Facebook Event (FR): Here



This project is organised by the Green European Foundation with the support of Etopia and with the financial support of the European Parliament to the Green European Foundation. The European Parliament is not responsible for the content of this event.

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