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Critical Minerals Today and in 2030: An Analysis for OECD Countries


  • Renaud Coulomb

    (Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment)

  • Simon Dietz

    (Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment)

  • Maria Godunova

    (Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment)

  • Thomas Bligaard Nielsen

    (Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment)


Raw materials are essential for the global economy and future development depends on their continued supply. Like fossil fuels, minerals are non-renewable. In general, their deposits in the Earth’s crust are also geographically clustered, making security of supply a potential risk. In many cases, the exhaustion of economically competitive minerals deposits in industrialized countries has made supplies increasingly dependent on the political stability of mineral-rich emerging economies. At the same time, increasing demand from these emerging markets, new technologies that require large amounts of rare minerals , low substitutability in applications and low rates of recycling have made economies more vulnerable to potential supply disruptions. Consequently policy-makers in several OECD countries and regions have developed reports that assess the vulnerability of their respective economies to disruptions in the supply of minerals. A common aim of many of these studies is the identification of a list of so-called ‘critical minerals’, defined as minerals for which the risk of disruptions in supply is relatively high and for which supply disruptions will be associated with large economic impacts. Les matières premières sont essentielles pour l'économie mondiale et le développement futur dépend de leur approvisionnement continu. Comme les combustibles fossiles, les minerais ne sont pas renouvelables. Par ailleurs, leurs dépôts dans la croûte terrestre sont, en général, regroupés géographiquement, faisant ainsi de la sécurité de l'approvisionnement un risque potentiel. Dans de nombreux cas en effet, pour ce qui est des pays industrialisés, l'épuisement des réserves en minerais économiquement compétitifs a rendu l'approvisionnement en matières premières une activité de plus en plus dépendante de la stabilité politique des pays émergents riches en minerais. Dans le même temps, la demande croissante de ces marchés émergents, mais aussi les nouvelles technologies qui nécessitent de grandes quantités de minerais rares, ainsi qu’une faible substituabilité dans leurs applications concrètes et des taux de recyclage faibles, ont rendu les économies plus vulnérables aux éventuelles ruptures d'approvisionnement. Par conséquent les décideurs dans plusieurs pays et régions de l'OCDE ont commandé des rapports qui évaluent la vulnérabilité de leurs économies respectives face à des perturbations dans l'approvisionnement en minerais. L’objectif commun d'un grand nombre de ces études est l'identification d'une liste de soi-disant «minerais critiques», définis comme les minerais pour lesquels le risque de perturbations de l'approvisionnement est relativement élevé et pour lesquels les ruptures en approvisionnement seront associées à de grands impacts économiques.

Suggested Citation

  • Renaud Coulomb & Simon Dietz & Maria Godunova & Thomas Bligaard Nielsen, 2015. "Critical Minerals Today and in 2030: An Analysis for OECD Countries," OECD Environment Working Papers 91, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:envaaa:91-en
    DOI: 10.1787/5jrtknwm5hr5-en

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    Cited by:

    1. Marc Wentker & Matthew Greenwood & Jens Leker, 2019. "A Bottom-Up Approach to Lithium-Ion Battery Cost Modeling with a Focus on Cathode Active Materials," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(3), pages 1-1, February.
    2. Marco Giovagnoli, 2016. "Le Terre Rare. Questioni geopolitiche, economiche e ambientali," PRISMA Economia - Societ - Lavoro, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2016(1), pages 115-161.
    3. Erin McCullough & Nedal T. Nassar, 2017. "Assessment of critical minerals: updated application of an early-warning screening methodology," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 30(3), pages 257-272, October.
    4. Brown, Teresa, 2018. "Measurement of mineral supply diversity and its importance in assessing risk and criticality," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 202-218.
    5. Dewulf, Jo & Blengini, Gian Andrea & Pennington, David & Nuss, Philip & Nassar, Nedal T., 2016. "Criticality on the international scene: Quo vadis?," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 169-176.
    6. Elaine Garcia de Lima & Cécile Bulle & Cássia Maria Lie Ugaya, 2018. "A Functionality Based Wood Substitutability Index," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(6), pages 1-1, May.

    More about this item


    recyclage; recycling;

    JEL classification:

    • F69 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Other
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development
    • Q37 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Issues in International Trade

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