Elizabeth Freele – Critical Mineral Communities: Winners or Losers in the Green Transition?


Climate change has prompted a global economic shift and is set to radically change our communities and our economy. Our species future success hinges on our ability to transition to a green, low-carbon global economy. There are winners and losers in this transition. The mining industry is set to be a major winner in many respects, as a range of minerals will power this transition. But an often forgotten ‘losing’ group is mining communities. Our industry has both a poor track record and poor ongoing performance in regards to both human rights and lasting community development outcomes; it is unsurprising that mining suffers from rising company-community conflict, causing both delays and cancellations – a status quo that humanity cannot afford. A mindset shift in mining’s approach to the company-community relationship – including both ignored good practices and new innovations – can accelerate critical mineral resource development that is just and equitable, repositioning mining communities as winners in the green transition.

Helpful links

Summary | RMI Report 2022 (responsibleminingindex.org)

Mining and the SDGs: a 2020 status update – Responsible Mining Foundation – RMF

Transition Minerals Tracker – Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (business-humanrights.org)



Liz is a mining social sustainability and ESG strategist, with a passion for harnessing natural resources to catalyze global development and tackle humanity’s grand challenges. As Co-Founder & Managing Partner of thinktank and advisory firm Sympact, she supports the industry globally in future-fit ESG integration and social performance leadership.

Elizabeth is also the host of Prospecting Purpose (“Mining’s Brighter Future Podcast”), and Future of Mining 365’s ESG Unearthed, as well as Chief Sustainability Officer of AI-driven planetary management start-up Hyphae Inc. Outside of her time in the mining industry, Elizabeth’s business track record has also included impact investing, renewable energy, circular economy and cleantech ventures.

Elizabeth holds an MBA (IE Business School), a BA in Political Science and Global Development (Western University), and Certificates in Sustainable Business Strategy (Harvard Business School) and Designing the Future of Work (University of New South Wales)