Gold companies have historically dominated the annual Diggers and Dealers Mining Forum in the Australian capital of the precious metal, Kalgoorlie.
But this year, more than half of the 69 companies presenting in official speaking slots were miners and explorers linked to decarbonisation.
And two of the three company award winners named at the prestigious Westrac Gala Dinner at the end of the three day event this week were linked to the green revolution, with Digger of the Year going to Lynas Rare Earths and lithium developer Liontown Resources winning Best Emerging Company.
The growth in the ranks and prominence of such companies is in many ways unsurprising given their minerals are essential to any hope of the world reaching the Paris Agreement target of net zero emissions by 2050.
But may what shock people is the number of these companies which will have to either develop new mines or lift their output for the looming wave of demand predicted.
As countries step up their climate ambitions, clean energy technologies are set to become the fastest-growing segment of demand for most minerals.
The International Energy Agency says current global lithium demand may be 13 to 51 times higher by 2040, depending on whether vanadium redox flow batteries penetrate the market.
Graphite may see six to 30 times higher demand than today depending on the evolution of battery chemistries and demand for rare earths essential for the permanent magnets in wind turbines and electric vehicle motors is set to grow by seven times.
The exceptional rise in demand for batteries is already outstripping supply, with new mines not being built fast enough.
In fact, the IEA predicted recently that the world would need 50 more lithium mines, 60 more nickel mines and 17 more cobalt mines by 2030.
While mining companies have historically been seen by some as dirty and polluting, their products have an essential role in the world’s decarbonisation.
It’s a message that the industry has been at pains to explain and promote in recent times, perhaps best highlighted by advertisements from mining giant BHP.
But for the sector to walk the walk, it must also focus on rapidly decarbonising its own operations, which is why most existing miners have set emissions targets and those entering production are focused on installing the latest renewable energy options and technology available.
And want communities across Australia and the world must accept is that more mines will need to be built if the globe is to meet its decarbonisation goals.