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Minerals 2018, 8(3), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8030114

Comprehensive Analysis of External Dependency in Terms of Material Criticality by Employing Total Material Requirement: Sulfuric Acid Production in Japan as a Case Study

1
Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Science and Engineering, Ritsumeikan University, Shiga 525-8577, Japan
2
Department of Environmental Systems Engineering, College of Science and Engineering, Ritsumeikan University, Shiga 525-8577, Japan
3
Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Tohoku University, Sendai 980-8577, Japan
4
Graduate School of Energy Science, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 January 2018 / Revised: 7 February 2018 / Accepted: 7 March 2018 / Published: 12 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Minerals: Methodologies and Case Studies)
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Abstract

Securing stable material supply is of paramount importance since materials are fundamental to the economy and human well-being. The domestic production to consumption ratio has conventionally been utilized as a main index for external dependency in terms of material supply security and its criticality. However, the conventional approach confines its application to raw materials, which potentially risks reaching short-sighted conclusions in the policy-making process. Beyond the conventional analysis of external dependency, the development of a more applicable approach for every material is of paramount importance to consider the diversification of external dependency more comprehensively and to aid the analysis of overall material criticality. As such, this paper establishes a new methodology for analyzing external dependency related to every material and product by using the concept of total material requirement (TMR). Applying the methodology, the external dependency of sulfuric acid production in Japan is evaluated as a case study. Previously unexamined elements associated with external dependency in the conventional approach are revealed by this new comprehensive approach. The new approach may be of use to policymakers in designing more sophisticated and well-grounded material securement policy. View Full-Text
Keywords: external dependency; total material requirement; country concentration; supply risk; criticality; mining external dependency; total material requirement; country concentration; supply risk; criticality; mining
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Kosai, S.; Hashimoto, S.; Matsubae, K.; McLellan, B.; Yamasue, E. Comprehensive Analysis of External Dependency in Terms of Material Criticality by Employing Total Material Requirement: Sulfuric Acid Production in Japan as a Case Study. Minerals 2018, 8, 114.

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