Poster 4: Mineral Scarcity

Every day this week I am uploading a poster taken from the contents of my book on energy and resource efficiency – to help fellow practitioners communicate the benefits and processes that will unlock value in their organizations and sustain change.

Today is day 4 and I am providing a poster showing World Mineral Scarcity taken from the National Minerals Information Centre 2016 report.

The table is sorted by reserve years. It is interesting to note that many minerals that folks seem to get all worked up about here on LinkedIn, such as Lithium, Cobalt and Rare Earths are actually not as scarce as one would think with Reserve Years of 371, 60 and 1,273 respectively. There are however problems with most of these minerals (indicated by the red cells) such as low recycling rates in some cases (Lithium < 1%), high US import reliance (60%, 68% and 100% respectively) and production concentration (China had 90% of the Rare Earth production in 2016).

It is important to understand where supply chain risks lie. My book goes into more details, such as the fact that some of these minerals are only extracted as a byproduct of other extraction, so the picture is more complex.

See the sidebar to the right to download your free copy of the book.


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Niall Enright’s book was published in June 2017 and last updated in September 2018.

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May 2024