A review of critical materials studies
Joint 11th Socio-Economic Metabolism Conference and 4th ISIE Asia-Pacific Conference, Melbourne, November 17-19
The significant shrinking of China’s rare earth’ export quota showed the importance of certain materials to several industries or even to the economy, defense and politics of a country. This fact made some authorities have launched some organizations and studies on “critical materials. The forecast of critical materials can help the decision makers to take measures in advance and avoid tricky potential problems. In general, the “critical materials” must face high economic importance and be of high access risks. The purpose for this study is to show what kinds of works have already been conducted on critical materials; to extract the definition and methodologies of defining the “critical materials”; and to point out the current critical material research interests in terms of material categories, industrial area and regions. Most studies are focused on finding out the critical materials in one specific administrative region, such as, European Union, the United States, and on offering the recommendations. In which, the rare earth elements are determined “critical” both by European Union and the United States. Some works are focused on certain technologies, for example, the clean energy technologies and emerging technologies. There are also relevant studies about the materials availability of certain products and strategic or critical materials on stockpile requirement. Therefore the studies on “critical materials” are still on the first stage, more comprehensive methodologies should be conducted and more sectors or regions need “critical materials” studies.