All metals and minerals (mineral resources/mineral raw materials) have at some point been mined somewhere on Earth. Subsequently, these raw materials have been processed by various companies and become industrial raw materials that are included in all kinds of end products.
Each raw material has its own supply chain, which can be more or less secure. Security of supply is highest for raw materials that are mined and processed in many places, and lowest for special metals that form part of monopolised supply chains.
At MiMa, we assess the security of supply for mineral raw materials.
Value chain analyses
MiMa conducts analyses of the raw materials’ value chain, from exploration to production, to explain how market mechanisms, legislation and dynamic conditions affect the outcome of certain investments and policy decisions.
Material flow analyses
The path of the raw materials from mine to mobile phone is long – and far from always secure. Most products consist of many different raw materials, which come from mines, smelters and refineries, and they may all be located in different countries. Each raw material has its own supply chain with its own challenges.
Assessment of critical raw materials
MiMa assesses the criticality of raw materials – i.e. their economic and societal importance combined with the degree of security of supply. The assessments can aid in averting the financial consequences of a structural shortage of raw materials and are therefore relevant both at company level and at national and EU level.
Analyses of raw material supply
MiMa analyses the raw material supply chains for several reasons, among them to identify bottleneck problems and thereby contribute to finding alternative, less threatened deliveries.
The 7 steps of the supply chain
Know more about security of supply
The security of supply of raw materials particularly depends on three factors
Scarcity of raw materials is caused by structural problems; Earth’s resources are not running out. But since they are not formed again, it is important to take good care of them and ensure that they are used sustainably.
Scarcity of metals and other mineral raw materials can mainly be due to three factors:
Some countries have a form of monopoly on primary production or further down the processing chain.
- Vulnerable supply chains
Some countries dominate important parts of the raw material supply chains – e.g. cobalt, which is mainly mined in DR Congo and predominantly processed in China.
- Increasing demand
If demand suddenly increases faster than the established infrastructure with mines, smelters and refineries can adjust to. For example, there is currently a risk that a rapidly growing battery market will lead to supply problems for certain raw materials, such as cobalt and graphite.
It is therefore important that companies analyse the security of supply for their raw materials and establish action plans to avert supply failures.
Critical raw materials with low security of supply
Some raw materials are particularly important to society and at the same time have a low security of supply. These are called critical raw materials. Since 2010, the European Commission has assessed which raw materials are critical for the European economy. Their latest report from 2017 identifies 26 critical mineral raw materials. These are mainly metals of which China is the dominant producer:
Complex electronics pose new challenges
Many electronic products, e.g. mobile phones, are very complex and contain up to 60 different elements, which are included in various alloys. But even simple raw materials such as stainless steel typically consist of among other things manganese, nickel, chromium, carbon and silicon, in addition to iron. The higher the complexity, the lower the security of supply, because the security of supply depends on whether several different raw materials can be obtained.