German Mineral Resources Agency: Supply Chain Diversification More Important Than Ever

by | 27. Jul 2023 - 10:07 | Economy

Raw materials list 2023 published – China’s market power on the rise.

Every two years, the German Mineral Resources Agency (Deutsche Rohstoffagentur DERA) presents its monitoring report on the supply concentration of key commodities and intermediates. Given increasing geopolitical tensions, the aftermath of the Corona pandemic, and, not least, the export controls announced by China for gallium and germanium, this year’s sixth edition of the study was sure to attract particular attention.

Almost 150 participants followed the presentation of the study results, which showed two things in particular: the demand for raw materials is growing, primarily due to the expansion of renewable energies, while China’s share of the world market is increasing. For 47 of the 64 raw materials considered, the People’s Republic is the most important producer country, and the trend is rising. This development also applies to many refined and traded products.

The data basis for the report is the Corona year 2020, for which DERA notes a noticeable decline in mine production compared to 2018, particularly true for the battery element graphite (minus 40 percent). In the view of the raw materials agency, the pandemic is only one of several negative factors for the European industry. Added to this would be high energy costs and the dramatic loss of domestic production capacities, such as aluminum. This in turn has an impact on the supply situation for gallium, which is obtained as a by-product in aluminum production.

The raw material situation has been exacerbated by the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. Supply relationships built up over many years had to be reorganized, as Russia was a major supplier of metal raw materials. DERA said that the current and ongoing challenges highlighted the importance of diversifying the supply chain and building European supply chains. Recycling could play a growing role here. The latest monitoring report also included four recycling raw materials (aluminum, lead, copper, and zinc) for the first time, and found that European refined products account for an above-average share globally. In absolute terms, however, China is also the leader here.

The complete DERA raw materials list 2023 can be found here (in German).

Photo: iStock/Elena Bionysheva-Abramova

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