Toward dynamic evaluations of materials criticality: A systems framework applied to platinum

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Journal Article
Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 2020, 152
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© 2019 Elsevier B.V. A criticality assessment framework is introduced to quantitatively evaluate mineral supply-risk drivers, end-user vulnerabilities, market-dynamic indicators, and their interconnections in a time-dependent manner. Using this framework, we analyzed the criticality of platinum from 1975 to 2015, considering major regional end users (Europe, North America, Japan, and China) and producers (South Africa and Russia). Our analysis demonstrates that: (1) The global supply risk of platinum is strongly influenced by South Africa's socio-political status and its dominance over global supply and reserves; (2) Production from South Africa is directly affected by the level of social progress in the region, while price is indirectly affected; (3) Platinum prices are more closely associated with production from South Africa than those from North America and Russia; (4) These prices are more connected with consumption in North America than in other regions; (5) Europe is more vulnerable to supply restrictions than North America, Japan, and China in the context of economic importance, consumption and import reliance. Our methodology shows that a detailed, dynamic understanding of constraints, drivers and trends in material supply risks and vulnerabilities can be achieved, although this requires annual reporting of data that can be challenging to compile. As such, there remain challenges in replicating the assessments demonstrated here for other potentially critical metals.
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