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Guiomar Calvo, Alicia Valero, and Antonio Valero (2017)

Assessing maximum production peak and resource availability of non-fuel mineral resources: Analyzing the influence of extractable global resources

Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 125:208-217.

Among the existing methodologies to assess future availability of mineral resources, the Hubbert peak model is a direct approach that can provide useful information about non-fuel mineral depletion using BAU production trends. Using lithium as a case study, the influence on the fluctuations on extractable resources has been analyzed. Accounting only for conventional lithium resources, the peak is only delayed less than two decades even if the most optimistic resources values are doubled. Additionally, using resources information obtained mainly from USGS data, the maximum production peak of 47 mineral commodities has been estimated. For two of them, the maximum theoretical production peak has already been reached, 12 could have theirs in the next 50 years and a total of 30 commodities could reach their maximum production peak in the next century. Many factors can influence these values, changes in future extraction trends, ore grade, exploration and new discoveries and more accurate data on resources. With this information the most crucial elements (i.e. those peaking soon) can be identified and be used to put more emphasis on policies regarding sustainable use of non-renewable commodities.

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