Scarce Metals and Minerals as Factors of Risk: How to Handle Criticality

  • Stormy-Annika Mildner
  • Gitta Lauster
  • Lukas Boeckelmann
Part of the Lecture Notes in Logistics book series (LNLO)


Scarce natural resources are increasingly perceived as a risk by governments and industries alike. The turn of the century brought starkly rising and fluctuating prices. High demand due to technological innovation and fast growth in emerging economies, speculation, and increasing government interventions in commodity markets are only a few of the factors that contribute to this development, fuelling worries about sufficient and affordable supply of raw materials in many countries. Governments around the world are now looking at what needs to be done to secure supply of critical materials; many of them, such as Germany and Japan, have passed integrated resource strategies. Resources also rank high on this year’s G20 agenda under the French presidency. Apart from the introduction and conclusion, our paper is divided into two parts. We start with an overview of studies on critical metals and minerals, comparing their methodology and findings, as well as highlighting the major risks on commodity markets. Despite differences in their framework and methodology, a number of metals and minerals is identified as critical by most of them (e.g. rare earths). The two predominant risks on commodity markets highlighted in the studies are price and supply risks. We then discuss national raw materials strategies of two sets of countries: countries/regions that are heavily dependent on raw materials imports (Germany, EU, and Japan) and resource-rich countries (the United States, Canada, China). With the exception of China, supply security is commonly viewed as a primary task for industry, not government. The government’s primary chore is to ensure market access and fair competition. However, depending on the national wealth in raw materials and on a country’s industrial structure, the countries prioritize varying key aspects in their raw materials strategies.


Rare Earth World Trade Organisation Platinum Group Metal Exclusive Economic Zone Critical Metal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Angerer, G., Erdmann, L., Marscheider-Weidemann, F., Scharp, M., Lüllmann, A., Handke, V., Marwede, M.: Rohstoffe für Zukunftstechnologien: Einfluss des branchenspezifischen Rohstoffbedarfs in rohstoffintensiven Zukunftstechnologien auf die zukünftige. Fraunhofer IRB Verlag, Rohstoffnachfrage (2009)Google Scholar
  2. APS (The American Physical Society), Energy Critical Elements: Securing Materials for Emerging Technologies (2011), (accessed May 25, 2011)
  3. Areddy, J.T.: China Moves to Strengthen Grip Over Supply of Rare-Earth Metals. In: The Wall Street Journal (February 7, 2011), (accessed June 01, 2011)
  4. Bacchus, J.: Hoarding Resources Threatens Free Trade. Wall Street Journal (May 19, 2010)Google Scholar
  5. Bacchus, J.: A Rare-Earths Showdown Looms. The Wall Street Journal (May 20, 2011), (accessed June 01, 2011)
  6. Bardt, H.: Rohstoffpreise und Bedeutung für die deutsche Wirtschaft. Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln (2011), (accessed May 28, 2011)
  7. Behrendt, S., Scharp, M., Feil, M., Dereje, C., Bleischwitz, R., Delzeit, R., Scharp, M.: Seltene Metalle: Maßnahmen und Konzepte zur Lösung des Problems konfliktverschärfender Rohstoffausbeutung am Beispiel Coltan. Umwelt Bundes Amt (2007), (accessed May 30, 2011)
  8. BGR, Rohstoffsituation Deutschland, Hannover: BGR (2010)Google Scholar
  9. BMWA, Bericht zur aktuellen rohstoffwirtschaftlichen Situation und zu möglichen rohstoffpolitischen Hand-lungsoptionen. BMWA, Berlin (2005)Google Scholar
  10. BMWi, Auswirkungen der weltweiten Konzentrierung in der Bergbauproduktion auf die Rohstoffversorgung in der deutschen Wirtschaft. Bericht Nr. 463 – Kurzfassung. BMWi, Berlin (1999)Google Scholar
  11. Braune, G.: Kanada unterstreicht Ansprüche im Ozean. Handelsblatt (June 08, 2009), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  12. Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie, Übersicht über bestehende Handels-und Wettbewerbsverzerrungen auf den Rohstoffmärkten (2011) (unpublished overview)Google Scholar
  13. Bünger, J., Unbehend, O.: Die Rohstoffe der Zukunft. Lohnt der Abbau von Bodenschätzen in der Tiefsee? In: ZDF Abenteuer Wissen (March 11, 2009),,7529485,00.html (accessed May 31, 2011)
  14. Chu, D.L.: Seventeen Metals: “The Middle East Has Oil, China Has Rare Earth”. The Trading Report (November 12, 2010), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  15. COMRA (China Ocean Mineral Resources R & D Association), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  16. Cunningham, L.D.: Tantalum. In: USGS (ed) Metals Prices in the United States Through (1998), (accessed May 25, 2011)
  17. Deutscher Bundestag: Unterrichtung durch die Bundesregierung Rohstoffstrategie der Bundesregierung – Sicherung einer nachhaltigen Rohstoffversorgung Deutschlands mit nicht-energetischen mineralischen Rohstoffen. Drucksache 17(3399) (2010)Google Scholar
  18. Dohmen, F., Jung, A.: VEB Rohstoffe. In: Spiegel Online (January 31, 2011), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  19. Aktuell, D.J.S.: 18 deutsche Unternehmen an Rohstoffpartnerschaft mit Kasachstan interessiert (May 25, 2011) (accessed May 31, 2011)
  20. Elsner, H.: Kritische Versorgungslage mit Seltenen Erden – Entwicklung “Grüner Technologien” gefährdet? Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (2011), (accessed June 06, 2011)
  21. Environment Canada, Government of Canada Announces Decisions on Mount Milligan and Prosperity Gold-copper Mines. News Release, OTTAWA (November 2, 2010), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  22. EurActiv, Commission Unveils Updated Raw Materials Plan (February 3, 2011), (updated February 27, 2011) (accessed May 31, 2011)
  23. EurActiv (2011a) EU to Step Up Raw Materials “Diplomacy” (June 18, 2010), (updated February 27, 2011) (accessed May 31, 2011)
  24. EurActiv (2011b) EU, US, Japan should cooperate on rare earth supply (February 4, 2011), (updated February 27, 2011) (accessed May 31, 2011)
  25. European Commission, Global Europe. Competing in the World (2006), (accessed June 06, 2011)
  26. European Commission, The Raw Materials Initiative – Meeting our Critical Needs for Growth and Jobs in Europe. SEC(2008) 2741. Brussels (2008), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  27. European Commission, Commission Staff Working Document accompanying the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council. The Raw Materials Initiative – Meeting our Critical Needs for Growth and Jobs in Europe. SEC (2008) 2741, Brussels (2008a), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  28. European Commission, EU Requests WTO Panel on Chinese Export Restrictions on Raw Materials. Factsheet. Dispute Settlement Brussels (November 4, 2009), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  29. European Commission, Tackling the Challenges in Commodity Markets and on Raw Materials, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. COM, 25 final, Brussels (February 2, 2011), (accessed May 31, 2011) European Commission, Trade. Industrial Goods. Non-Ferrous Metals (2010), (last updated December 2010) (accessed May 31, 2011)
  30. European Commission Directorate-General for Trade, Raw Materials Policy, Annual Report (2009)Google Scholar
  31. European Commission Enterprise and Industry, Non-Energy Raw Materials (2011a), (accessed June 06, 2011)
  32. European Commission Enterprise and Industry, A European Strategy for Raw Materials (February 18, 2011), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  33. European Union (The ad-hoc Working Group on Defining Critical Raw Materials), Critical Raw Materials for the EU. European Commission (2010), (accessed May 28, 2011)
  34. European Union, General Overview of Active WTO Dispute Settlement Cases Involving the EU as Complainant or Defendant and of Active Cases under the Trade Barriers Regulation (2011), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  35. Fang, Y.: China to impose rare earth resource tax. In: English. news. cn (March 24, 2011), (accessed May 31, 2011) GAO (Government Accountability Office) Rare Earth Materials in the Defense Supply Chain (2010), (accessed June 02, 2011)
  36., Seltene Erden – Japan hat eine erste Antwort. In: ( November 3, 2011), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  37. Heß, R.: Deutsche Suche nach Rohstoffen am Meeresboden. In: Telepolis (January 06, 2010), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  38. Hilpert, H.G., Kröger, A.E.: Chinesisches Monopol bei Seltenen Erden: Risiko für die Hochtechnologie. DIW Wochenbericht 19, 3–10 (2011)Google Scholar
  39. Hilpert, H.G., Mildner, S.A., Lauster, G., Wassenberg, F.: Wettlauf um Metalle. In: Mildner, S.A. (ed.) Konfliktrisiko Rohstoffe? Herausforderungen und Chancen im Umgang mit knappen Ressourcen. SWP-Studien 2011/S 05, pp. 131–170 (2011)Google Scholar
  40. Hiranuma, H.: Securing Supplies of Rare Metals for Environmental Technology. The Tokyo Foundation (2009), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  41. Hsu, A., Seligsohn, D.: What to Look for in China’s 12th Five-Year Plan? World Resources Institute (March 02, 2011), (accessed June 01, 2011)
  42. Japan Investor, (The) The Coming Rare Earth Metals Crunch (September 2009), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  43. Jarowinsky, M., et al. (ed.) Studie mit dem Ziel eines Aktionsplans für den Bereich marine mineralische Rohstoffe. Study on demand of the German Ministry of Economics and Technology and the Ministry of Economics of Lower Saxony (July 2009), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  44. JOGMEG, Rare Metals Stockpiling Program (2007), (Accessed June 3)
  45. Kölling, M.: Forschung für die Unabhängigkeit. In: Financial Times Deutschland (January 15, 2011), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  46. Kuo, C.S.: The Mineral Industry of Japan. USGS 2008 Minerals Yearbook, Japan (June 2010), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  47. Li, J.: Project to tackle heavy-metal pollution. China Daily (2011), (updated February 19, 2011) (accessed June 01, 2011)
  48. London Metal Stock Exchange, LME Copper Price Graph (2011), (accessed March 9, 2011)
  49. Long, K.R., Van Gosen, B.S., Foley, N.K., Cordier, D.: The Principal rare earth Element Deposits of the United States – A Summary of Domestic Deposits and a Global Perspective. Scientific Investigations Report 2010 – 5220, Reston, Virginia: USGS (2010)Google Scholar
  50., Japan Metals Report Q4 2010. In: (2010), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  51. McMahon, F., Miguel, C.: Survey of Mining Companies 2010/2011. Fraser Institute (2011)Google Scholar
  52. METI (Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry), Announcement of ‘Strategy for Ensuring Stable Supplies of Rare Metals’ (July 28, 2009), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  53. Mining Association of Canada, Contribution of the Mining Industry: A Positive Message to Canadians. Presentation Material for Use by the Canadian Mining Industry (February 2009), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  54. Mining Association of Canada, Annual Report 2009 (2010), (accessed June 01, 2011)
  55. MLR (Ministry of Land and Resources of the People’s Republic of China) (2010), Communiqué on Land and Resources of China 2007 (March 26, 2010), (accessed June 01, 2011)
  56. Mobbs, P.: The Mineral Industry of Canada. U.S. Geological Survey 2009 Minerals Yearbook Canada. Washington D.C. (2011),
  57. NAS (The National Academy of Science) Minerals, Critical Minerals, and the U.S. Economy. The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C. (2007)Google Scholar
  58. Natural Resources Canada, From Mineral Resources to Manufactured Products: Toward a Value-Added Mineral and Metal Strategy for Canada. Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada (1998)Google Scholar
  59. Natural Resources Canada, GEM: Geo-mapping for Energy and Minerals (2010), (last updated October 08, 2010) (accessed May 31, 2011)
  60. Nautilus Minerals, Nautilus Granted Mining Lease. News Release (2011), (accessed June 07, 2011) NTV (2010) Japan sucht Meeresboden ab (April 26, 2010) (January 17, 2011)(accessed May 31, 2011)
  61. Ocean Explorer, Extended Continental Shelf Project, U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration by the Ocean Explorer Webmaster (August 26, 2010), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  62. Öko-Institut/ UNEP, Critical Metals for Future Sustainable Technologies and their Recycling Potential. United Nations Environment Programme (2009), (accessed May 27, 2011)
  63. Peeling, G.R.: The Canadian Mining Industry: Overview, Issues and the Way Forward. Presentation of the President and CEO of The Mining Association of Canada at EXPOMIN, Santiago, Chile (April 2010) (accessed May 31, 2011)
  64. Rehn D: Japan intensiviert Suche nach ‚strategischen‘ Metallen. In: Germany Trade and Invest, Länder und Märkte (October 01, 2010), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  65. Reuters Deutschland (2011), Deutschland und Kasachstan bringen Rohstoff-Abkommen auf den Weg (May 24, 2011), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  66. Stratmann, K.: Brüderle fordert eine deutsche Rohstoff AG. Handelsblatt (November 02, 2010), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  67. Trading Economics, China GDP Growth Rate (2011), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  68., China baut Handel mit Afrika kräftig aus (December 23, 2010), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  69. Trelawny, P., Pearce, P.: Canadian Mining Industry: 2009 General Review. Canadian Minerals Yearbook (CMY) –2009, via Natural Resources Canada (2009), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  70. Tse, P.K.: The Mineral Industry of China. U.S. Geological Survey 2009 Minerals Yearbook China [Advanced Release] (November 2010) (revised November 19, 2010)Google Scholar
  71. Tse, P.K.: China’s Rare-Earth Industry. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011–1042 (2011)Google Scholar
  72. U.S. DOE (U.S. Department of Energy) (2010) Critical Materials Strategy. Washington D.C. (December 2010) Google Scholar
  73. USGS (U.S. Geological Survey), Marine Mineral Resources of Pacific Islands–A Review of the Exclusive Economic Zones of Islands of U.S. Affiliation, Excluding the State of Hawaii. Circular 1286 (2005), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  74. USGS (U.S. Geological Survey), Statistical Summary 2008 (2008), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  75. USGS (U.S. Geological Survey), Copper (2010), (accessed May 31, 2011)
  76. USGS (U.S. Geological Survey), Mineral Commodity Summary 2010, Washington D.C (2010a),
  77. Vaporean, C.: Copper to Stay High, Avg $9,950 a Tonne in ’11-Barclays. Reuters (2010), (accessed December 9, 2010)
  78. Vasters, J., Buchholz, P., Huy, D., Schmitz, M., Röhling, S., Altfelder, S.: Rohstoffwirtschaftliche Bewertung der Länder Afrikas, Asiens, der Gemeinschaft Unabhängiger Staaten (GUS) mit Georgien und Südamerikas im Hinblick auf die Bedeutung für Deutschland. Deutsche Rohstoffagentur. BGR, Hannover (2010)Google Scholar
  79. Xinhua, China’s Rare Earth Producers Push for Clear National Strategy. China Daily (2011), (updated January 21, 2011) (accessed June 1, 2011)
  80. Zhanheng, C.: Rare Earth Protection Plan. In: China Daily (May 28, 2011), (accessed June 1, 2011)
  81. Zajec, O.: China – Herr über die seltenen Erden (November 15, 2010), (accessed May 31, 2011)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stormy-Annika Mildner
    • 1
  • Gitta Lauster
    • 2
  • Lukas Boeckelmann
    • 3
  1. 1.Deutsches Institut für Internationale Politik und Sicherheit, Mitglied der InstitutsleitungStiftung Wissenschaft und PolitikBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Deutsches Institut für Internationale Politik und Sicherheit, Forschungsassistentin in der InstitutsleitungStiftung Wissenschaft und PolitikBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Student für Volkswirtschaftslehre an der University of BristolBristolGreat Britain

Personalised recommendations