Materials-as-a-service in the Minerals and Metals sector

On 4 July, 15.00 – 17.00, the African Circular Economy Network (ACEN), Chatham HouseHet Groene Brein and Turntoo will organise the online WRF’23 Loudspeaker Event “Materials-as-a-Service in the Minerals and Metals Sector“. Register for free and attend this innovative session to explore how resource leasing can drive the Circular Economy transition and create fair value chains.

Resource leasing or Materials-as-a-Service is an innovative business model that has the potential to facilitate the Circular Economy Global North/South transition while at the same time providing long-term benefits to producer countries especially in the context of achieving fairer trade conditions. The concept of MaaS involves the transfer of the right to use a resource, rather than the ownership of the resource itself. Royalties can be generated as part of the lease agreement to support affected mining communities and co-finance proper rehabilitation of mines.

This new potential resource use trade approach raises however questions around broader topics of global trade, the just transition, land and property rights, definitions of community, the resource curse, requirements for net zero, and the role of mining companies as we aim for transition.

The session will be an interactive session between experts and the audience . The event organisers will first introduce the general concept of and ideas behind ‘Materials-as-a-service’ and the necessity for a just circular transition. Then, a panel of renowned experts from the field of circular economy, just transition, property rights and mining will reflect on the (im)possibilities of such Materials-as-a-Service, followed by a discussion with the audience.

Panel members include Ken Webster, Visiting Professor, Cranfield University, Fellow at CISL (Cambridge Inst. for Sustainability Leadership), Christian Spano Director Innovation of the International Council of Mining and Metals, and Meyer van der Berg, Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town (affiliated with the DST/NRF Research Chair: Mineral Law in Africa), with other experts to-be-confirmed.

Some of the questions that will be touched upon include:

  • How could the ‘resource curse’ be mitigated through new contractual agreements?
  • What are the conditions for such a new ownership model and how could it work?
  • How to avoid unintended consequences, such as exploitation and value extraction?
  • How to ensure the right to decentralised solutions for African countries and communities?
  • How to finance Maas models? What types of investments are needed?
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