Length Length

8 modules, accessible at any time

Effort Effort

2-4 hours per module

Price Price


Languages Languages


Video Transcripts Video Transcripts


Prerequisites Prerequisites


Requirements Requirements

An internet connection to access course materials


This course is self-paced – you can enroll immediately and complete the course materials at any time before August 31, 2025.

Mining and Materials for Sustainable Development is a project developed by the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI); supported by the African Legal Support Facility, Anglo American, and Ford Foundation; produced by Econ Films; and hosted by SDG Academy. To learn more, please click here.

The Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Agenda 2030 outline a global consensus on the interlinked needs to curb human-induced climate change and to achieve sustainable development. The underlying transformations needed to achieve climate goals and other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include the rapid decarbonization of our global energy systems and economies, and a scale-up of new technologies to meet the needs of a growing population. Mining and materials are at the heart of these sustainable development transformations and present both challenges and opportunities. Despite the important implications for mining investments and mineral-rich governments, the world still lacks a coherent vision to guide global actors in shifting the course of mining projects and mining companies in a way that leads to deep decarbonization; protects and preserves our fragile ecosystems; addresses the development needs of resource-dependent, low-income countries; and respects the rights and interests of impacted communities.

This course examines these challenges and opportunities and how we can pursue all these transformations in a manner consistent with human rights, poverty elimination, social inclusion, protection and preservation of ecosystems, and economic development.

In this course you will learn from leading experts in various areas of knowledge and with diverse viewpoints. Key topics covered include:

  • The relevance of the energy and technological transformations to mining and materials value chains and their stakeholders, including governments, international organizations, companies, financiers, civil society, local communities, and the general public;
  • The roles and responsibilities of mining and materials stakeholders in the sustainable development transformations, including in climate change mitigation, adaptation, and resilience;
  • The sustainable development challenges of renewable energy systems and an increasingly urbanized and digital economy;
  • Security of supply of critical minerals
  • The environmental, climate, social, human rights, and economic impacts of mining and materials value chains;
  • The role of national plans, strategies, laws, and policies in addressing these challenges.


  • Pre-recorded lectures
  • Readings
  • Quizzes
  • Discussion forum

Logo | CCSI

Lead Faculty

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    Saleem Ali

    University of Delaware

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    Kwasi Ampofo

  • Faculty Image

    Ana Bastida

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    Stéphanie Bouckaert

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    Martin Dietrich Brauch

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    Joan Carling

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    Aaron Cosbey

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    Gillian Davidson

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    Rohitesh Dhawan

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    Cullen Hendrix

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    Sheila Khama

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    Marit Kitaw

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    Nicole Labutong

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    Renata Lawton-Misra

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    Amir Lebdioui

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    Casilda Malagon

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    Glen Mpufane

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    Melanie Müller

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    Silas Olan’g

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    Isabelle Ramdoo

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    Jeffrey Sachs

    Columbia University

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    Lisa Sachs

    Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment

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    Zafar Samadov

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    Vera Songwe

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    Perrine Toledano

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    Tamara Veldboer

This course is for

Mid- to senior-level government officials, members of parliament and parliamentary staffers

Civil society leaders with a track record of analysis, oversight, and policy advocacy related to mining, the environment, climate action, or a just energy transitions

Professors, researchers, graduate students, and other academics undertaking applied research or teaching on mining, the environment, climate action, or a just energy transition

Professionals from development agencies, including aid agencies and international financial institutions

Representatives from extractive industry or renewable energy companies and associations such as chambers of energy and minerals or industry think tanks

The general public, interested in learning more about the role of extractive industries in the energy transition


Course logistics and requirements

This course is self-paced. All course components are available now and can be completed at any time that is convenient for the students. Please note that this course is not facilitated by a course team. We encourage students to engage with one another via the discussion forum. Any specific questions can be sent to the SDG Academy team at courses@sdgacademy.org.


Learners who successfully complete the course will be eligible to purchase a Verified Certificate signed by the course instructors.



Contextualizing the scale and urgency of the energy and technological transition that underpin the Sustainable Development Goals


The six transformations of sustainable development and the role of materials


The carbon budget and implications for energy systems


Mineral intensity of new energy technologies and of other digital applications, urbanization, public transport, buildings, and materials


Geopolitics of mineral supply security


How to make the world goals compatible: Climate, energy, land, biodiversity, human rights, and other SDGs


How the world is making, measuring, and monitoring progress toward global goals


Carbon pricing approaches


Mitigation hierarchy, carbon credits and offset markets, and net-zero pledges


Setting standards and tracking progress on sustainability goals


Contradictory pressures shaping corporate actions


Greenhouse gas accounting in the context of material value chains


Decarbonization pathways and implications for mining and materials value chains


Decarbonization pathways to achieve global net-zero emissions by 2050


Mining operations’ energy and emissions intensity and drivers of sustainability in mining operations


Reaching net-zero emissions in mining


Reaching net-zero emissions in hard-to-abate downstream industries


Case study: Decarbonizing copper and nickel value chains


Implications of sustainable development transformations for governments of mineral-rich countries


The case for sustainable mining for host countries and communities


Legal implications in mining laws and contracts: Obligations of the parties in light of climate change


Legal implications in mining laws and contracts: Risk sharing in light of climate change


Necessary enabling regulatory framework in climate, energy, and electricity laws, and current roadblocks


International investment law and sustainable development transformations


Mining and materials value chains and the circular economy


Circular economy and sustainable development transformations


Various forms of circular economy at mine sites: Opportunities and challenges


Various forms of circular economy along supply chains: Opportunities and challenges


Circular business models and potential applications in mining and materials value chains


Development of enabling conditions for circularity in mining and materials value chains


Going up and down mining and materials value chains

Traditional pitfalls of downstream beneficiation and renewed opportunities brought by the energy transition

The rise in carbon cost, supply chain risk, and implications for the localization of supply chains

The feedback loop between energy, mining, and industrialization

Case study: Piloting battery production in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Case study: High-level regional cooperation for downstream beneficiation


Implications of sustainable development transformations for communities, workers, and suppliers in mineral-rich countries


A just transition


Land rights and other human rights


Digitalization and its impact on job creation at mine sites


Policies for workers and communities: Retraining and reemployment


Gender considerations in sustainable development transformations


Implications of sustainable development transformations for national planning processes


Backcasting and participatory roadmaps for sustainable development transformations


Achieving green growth in sustainable development transformations


Sound revenue spending systems for sustainable development transformations


Diversification strategies, caution about over-projection, and the risk of pre-source curse


Course takeaways