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To build a more sustainable future, we need a huge amount and variety of raw materials. If those materials cannot be grown or collected from natural ecosystems, then they must be mined, quarried or extracted from below the Earth’s surface.

In this video, geoscientists Amir Rafique and Gabriella Vincent-Hann investigate the connection between products, raw materials, and the important role that responsible mining has to play in building our sustainable future. We explore:

  • • How materials from sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks are used to build electric vehicles,
  • • How geographers and geoscientists find these materials through fieldwork and GIS analysis
  • • The primary industry of mining: How we extract these materials through traditional techniques like open pit and underground mining, and new innovative approaches like direct lithium extraction.
  • • The steps taken to manage the environmental and social impacts of extraction.


Written and developed by: Ben Lepley, Amir Rafique, Gabriella Vincent-Hann David Buchs, Pablo Brito-Parada, Simon Ross, Tim Parker, Emily Bilbie, Harriet Ridley, Josh Carron, Rupert Perkins.

This video was made possible thanks to the fantastic support of the UK Critical Minerals community. We thank the following organisations for their assistance:

Thank you to Tungsten West for enabling us to film at their Hemerdon Mine site in south Devon.

Thank you to Cornish Lithium for enabling us to film at their Geothermal Water Test Site in Cornwall.

Thank you to Epiroc for making visuals of underground mining available for use in this video.


Action whoosh/swoosh effect by Speedenza is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

JCB operating on small construction site by alanmckinney is licensed under CC BY 3.0.

Forest summer Roond 003 200619_0186 by klankbeeld is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Lithium reacting in water video is licensed from SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY