Special Issue "Critical Minerals: Methodologies and Case Studies"

A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (12 December 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Ben McLellan
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Guest Editor
Graduate School of Energy Science, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan
Interests: energy technology; resource policy; nexus; sustainability; sustainable development; hydrogen energy; criticality assessment; water; minerals
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Shinsuke Murakami
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Guest Editor
Department of Systems Innovation, School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan
Interests: industrial ecology (materials flow analysis); mineral economics; resource/recycling policy; resource security; sustainable resources use
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Jamie Speirs
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Guest Editor
Sustainable Gas Institute, Department of Earth Science & Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Imperial College London, UK
Interests: critical minerals; energy; resource policy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

While the discussion of “critical minerals” has been around for a long time, in recent years, there have been greater efforts to formalize assessment approaches. Moreover, as transitions towards new technologies, particularly in the clean energy sector, have been seen as putting pressure on the supply of various minerals, the interest in analyzing present and potential future mineral criticality has been increasing. In particular, it has been noted that the reduction in minerals prices in recent years, after a prolonged period of high price growth may effect criticality—both as an area of research interest, as well as the practical criticality of minerals. This Special Issue seeks both case studies and methodological papers demonstrating new research in this important area.

Submissions may include, but are not limited to:

Strategies for mitigating criticality—e.g., urban mining/recycling; market structures, investment portfolios and interventions; unconventional resources; technological innovation and substitution; economic restructuring

Assessment methodologies—e.g., advances in assessment; environmental criteria; comparative assessment of alternative methodologies; systems studies of dynamic criticality; uncertainty analysis

New or updated case studies—e.g., new technologies; new materials; country-specific, global, corporate or sectoral assessments; updates of previous studies with new data reflecting recent industry changes.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Benjamin C McLellan
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Shinsuke Murakami
Dr. Jamie Speirs
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Minerals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Criticality
  • Methodologies
  • Energy
  • Sectoral approaches
  • National approaches

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
Evaluating Metal Criticality for Low-Carbon Power Generation Technologies in Japan
Minerals 2019, 9(2), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9020095 - 08 Feb 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1828
Abstract
Given a potential increase in low-carbon power generation, assessing the criticality of metals used for its technologies is of significant importance. While several studies analyzed the metal criticality of an individual technology, the national metal criticality for a wide range of low-carbon power [...] Read more.
Given a potential increase in low-carbon power generation, assessing the criticality of metals used for its technologies is of significant importance. While several studies analyzed the metal criticality of an individual technology, the national metal criticality for a wide range of low-carbon power generation technologies and the comparison of overall criticality of each technology have yet to be fully evaluated. Therefore, this study firstly evaluates the criticality of 29 metals used in facilities for renewable energy and highly efficient thermal power generation in Japan and then compares the overall criticality for each technology to identify metals that might impose limitations on these technologies and to discuss measures for removal of factors hindering the spread of low-carbon power generation technologies. It was discovered that solar power generation technology is the most critical technology from the perspective of supply risk due to the use of indium, cadmium and selenium, while wind power generation is the most critical technology from the perspective of vulnerability to supply restriction because of the use of neodymium and dysprosium. A developed approach would have a significant potential to contributing to energy-mineral nexus, which may assist in providing policy implications from the perspectives of both specific metals and technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Minerals: Methodologies and Case Studies)
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Article
Environmental Implications of Resource Security Strategies for Critical Minerals: A Case Study of Copper in Japan
Minerals 2018, 8(12), 558; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8120558 - 01 Dec 2018
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1533
Abstract
In the assessment of critical minerals, environmental impacts have been a focus of a number of methodologies. In the case of resource security for critical minerals, there are a variety of potential strategies that might be used to reduce criticality from the supply [...] Read more.
In the assessment of critical minerals, environmental impacts have been a focus of a number of methodologies. In the case of resource security for critical minerals, there are a variety of potential strategies that might be used to reduce criticality from the supply risk perspective, but the environmental consequences of these strategies need to be evaluated. Japan is a country with a heavy dependence on imported materials, and thus has examined various alternative resource supply strategies to improve resource security. This study examines these alternative strategies and evaluates the consequential environmental implications, focusing on the domestic impacts in Japan. Utilization of deep ocean mining and end-of-life home appliance recycling are examined as alternatives against the conventional, import-oriented process. From the obtained results, deep ocean mining, providing 30% of domestic copper demand with the remainder supplied from recycling, is the current optimal solution with regards to the environmental impact. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Minerals: Methodologies and Case Studies)
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Article
Analysis of Potential for Critical Metal Resource Constraints in the International Energy Agency’s Long-Term Low-Carbon Energy Scenarios
Minerals 2018, 8(4), 156; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8040156 - 12 Apr 2018
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 4421
Abstract
As environmental problems associated with energy systems become more serious, it is necessary to address them with consideration of their interconnections—for example, the energy-mineral nexus. Specifically, it is unclear whether long-term energy scenarios assuming the expansion of low carbon energy technology are sustainable [...] Read more.
As environmental problems associated with energy systems become more serious, it is necessary to address them with consideration of their interconnections—for example, the energy-mineral nexus. Specifically, it is unclear whether long-term energy scenarios assuming the expansion of low carbon energy technology are sustainable in terms of resource constraints. However, there are few studies that comprehensively analyze the possibility of resource constraints in the process of introducing low carbon energy technology from a long-term perspective. Hence, to provide guidelines for technological development and policy-making toward realizing the low carbon society, this paper undertakes the following: (1) Estimation of the impact of the expansion of low carbon energy technology on future metal demand based, on the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s scenarios; (2) estimation of the potential effects of low carbon energy technology recycling on the future supply-demand balance; (3) identification of critical metals that require priority measures. Results indicated that the introduction of solar power and next-generation vehicles may be hindered by resource depletion. Among the metals examined, indium, tellurium, silver, lithium, nickel and platinum were identified as critical metals that require specific measures. As recycling can reduce primary demand by 20%~70% for low carbon energy technology, countermeasures including recycling need to be considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Minerals: Methodologies and Case Studies)
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Article
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(3), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8030114 - 12 Mar 2018
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2381
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Minerals: Methodologies and Case Studies)
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