OECD Environment Working Papers

1997-0900 (online)
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This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected studies on environmental issues prepared for use within the OECD. Authorship is usually collective, but principal authors are named. The papers are generally available only in their original language English or French with a summary in the other if available.

Critical Minerals Today and in 2030

An Analysis for OECD Countries You or your institution have access to this content

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Renaud Coulomb1, Simon Dietz1, Maria Godunova1, Thomas Bligaard Nielsen1
Author Affiliations
  • 1: Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, United Kingdom

08 Sep 2015
Bibliographic information

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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.
JEL Classification:
  • F69: International Economics / Economic Impacts of Globalization / Other
  • O13: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Economic Development / Agriculture ; Natural Resources ; Energy ; 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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