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The government of "green" resources. A political sociology of lithium mining and financialization

Units : REPI Recherche et Études en Politique Internationale | ULB704

Description :

In response to the ecological crisis, States and private companies tend to promote a "green growth" based on the
development of industries considered less polluting than existing products and production processes. Yet, this increases the extraction
of certain raw materials with harmful consequences on the environment. This project aims to understand how the development of
"green" industries contributes to the financialization of raw materials and to the transformation of their extraction
methods. With this aim, the research proposal focuses on lithium, which is necessary to produce lithium-ion batteries used in electric
vehicles. Most of the literature on the governance of the ecological transition focuses on public policies. Conversely, the
originality of this project is to use both the literature on extractivism and environmental public policies, and the literature in
economic sociology and political economy, to integrate the role of companies, markets, and market institutions into the analysis. The
research proposal is based on the case of Argentina – which has the largest lithium reserves in the world – and on the case of
the European Union (EU) – which  supports the lithium-ion battery industry to foster its ecological and industrial transition as
well as its energy and economic sovereignty, especially vis-à-vis China. The project revolves around three components: Component 1
will focus on Argentina and EU’s policies to support lithium extraction and battery production; Component 2 will focus on the
creation and financialization of the lithium market; Component 3 will focus on the regulation of lithium extraction in the name of

List of persons in charge :

  • OLSSON Christian

List of lessors :

  • F.R.S.-FNRS et Fonds associés (hors FRIA)