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These metals are key to future tech and the energy transition. Here’s how to invest in them

An aerial view shows the brine pools of SQM lithium mine on the Atacama salt flat in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, January 10, 2013.
Ivan Alvarado | Reuters

The transition toward green energy has revealed a host of new opportunities for investors: the metals needed to fuel the renewable world.

Clean energy generally requires more materials than fossil-fuel power generation. Different green technologies call for a mix of metals and minerals.

A typical electric car, for example, requires six times the mineral inputs of a traditional internal combustion vehicle, according to the International Energy Agency. An onshore wind farm requires nine times more minerals than a gas-fired power plant.

All told, the Paris-based agency forecasts that mineral inputs will need to rise sixfold by 2040 if the world is to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

"[T]he data highlights that future technological solutions depend heavily on raw material markets that are comparatively small, raising the risk that minor shortages can cause severe dislocations," Bank of America said in a note to clients.

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