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Commodity prices will have to rise to attract investment from ever more complex locations to meet the urgency of the energy transition, Anglo American CEO Duncan Wanblad said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a mining conference, Wanblad said commodity price forecasting was a “mug’s game,” particularly in the short term, however with mines in ever more difficult locations, long permitting times, growing costs and rising demand, the current price environment would eventually have to change.

“The reality is, these materials are becoming scarcer and scarcer the closer we get to 2050. Assets are less and less available and those that are around today are finding themselves at the top of mining inflation curves,” he said.

These mines typically suffer from falling mineral quality and reserves, ore hardness and other difficulties, while permitting for new mines is still taking a very long time.

“If you add all of this together … it does say to me the books will balance and it has to ultimately reflect in price.”