Europe needs to become green to stop climate change and for EU politicians to start delivering solutions: renewable energy, electric cars and digitalization. But what does this transition actually mean? In Brussels commissioner Šefčovič stresses: “We need loads of metals in future and we have to open mines in Europe”. For him metals are the oil of the 21st century. Extraction in Europe is necessary to reduce risky dependencies on countries like China. But far away in rural Spain farmer Héctor has other concerns. Moon-like landscapes, explosions and dust is how he imagines his home if an open-pit lithium mine becomes reality. Politicians promise mines will be sustainable and safe, but still mining is one of the most polluting industries. How dirty does Europe have to get to become green?