IEA Publishes Inaugural Edition of Critical Minerals Market Review and Announces Data Explorer Tool

Recently, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released the inaugural edition of the Critical Minerals Market Review 2023, which provides valuable information on the critical minerals sector in 2022. It focuses on investment, market, technology, and policy trends, in addition to a view of the “progress made by countries and businesses in scaling up future supplies, diversifying sources of supply, and improving sustainable and responsible practices.”

Sections of the report include key market developments, developments of the battery sector, key trends by individual commodity, and implications. Individual commodity trends cover copper,  lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, and rare earth elements, with aluminum, manganese, platinum group metals, and uranium also covered.

Selected key highlights in the Executive Summarize include (directly quoted):

  • Record deployment of clean energy technologies such as solar PV and batteries is propelling unprecedented growth in the critical minerals markets.
  • The affordability and speed of energy transitions will be heavily influenced by the availability of critical mineral supplies.
  • Countries are seeking to diversify mineral supplies with a wave of new policies.
  • Investment in critical minerals development recorded another sharp uptick by 30% in 2022, following a 20% increase in 2021.
  • Exploration spending also rose by 20% in 2022, driven by record growth in lithium exploration.
  • The battery sector is undergoing transformative changes with the emergence of new technology options.
  • In a bid to secure mineral supplies, automakers, battery cell makers and equipment manufacturers are increasingly getting involved in the critical minerals value chain.
  • Demand for critical minerals for clean energy technologies is set to increase rapidly in all IEA scenarios.
  • Limited progress has been made in terms of diversifying supply sources in recent years; the situation has even worsened in some cases
  • An approach to critical mineral security needs to cast its net widely to encompass niche minerals.

Above graph created by the IEA in the Critical Minerals Market Review 2023 report, CC by 4.0 license.

Demand and supply projections are forthcoming as well for key materials and a number of deep-dives on key issues.

Along with the Review report, there is the new IEA Critical Minerals Data Explorer, which is an interactive tool that shows IEA’s data and projections for critical minerals, including demand projections under various scenarios and technology trends, with supply-side information being added in the future. In the first release, demand projection results can be found via various energy scenarios and technology evolution trends. “Users can look up total demand for key minerals (copper, lithium, nickel, cobalt and neodymium) and projected mineral demand in the clean energy sector by technology and commodity under different scenarios and technology cases, including 12 alternative cases modeling the impact of different technologies or consumer behaviours.”

Photo by Paul-Alain Hunt on Unsplash

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