A historical overview shows that mankind has feared the scarcity of mineral resources, especially metals, for many centuries. In the first half of the 20th century, this discussion was marked by the great military demand for raw materials, followed by the growing world population, increasing consumption and environmental awareness. From then on, there was less talk of regional shortages, but more discussion of a global scarcity or even a drying up of raw material sources worldwide. Although these forecasts are still controversially discussed today, the assessment of resource depletion has become an integral element of Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) or Life Cycle Impact Assessments (LCIA) of product systems. A number of methodological approaches are available for this purpose, which are presented and applied in a series of articles as part of a special issue of “Resources”. The fundamental question is also addressed, namely to what extent the assessment of resource depletion in the context of an environmental study such as LCA is appropriate.
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