Greenfields Research

Blog Header Image

Scheduled to present at Argus Media China Metals Week on critical metals

- By: John P Sykes
Posted in: Blog, Commodities, Conferences, Mineral Economics, Recommended


This week my Chinese visa came through, so that I could attend the Argus Media Metal Pages China Metals Week in Guangzhou, China, between 16-19th November. The conference focuses on the antimony, tungsten and electronic and battery metals markets, such as arsenic, bismuth, cadmium, cobalt, gallium, germanium, indium, lithium, tantalum, tellurium and tin.

I will present two papers. One in the plenary session, co-authored with Josh Wright, Allan Trench and Paul Miller, on: “Who are the future stars of special metals with the potential for long-term transformational market growth?”

The paper will speculate on which of the minor metals markets have the potential for rapid market growth over the coming decades, based on a general assessment of discovery, supply and demand factors; and drawing from case studies of transformational market growth in the aluminium, nickel and uranium markets in the early and mid-20th century.

I will also present a version of this paper at the AusIMM Future Mining Conference in Sydney, 4-6th November. It is based on two peer-reviewed papers that are scheduled to be published in Applied Earth Science in late 2015 / early 2016, entitled: “Discovery, supply and demand: From Metals of Antiquity to Critical Metals” and “An assessment of the potential for transformational market growth amongst the critical metals”.

The second paper is in the Electronic & Battery Metals section and covers: “Understanding structural change in tin and tantalum mine supply and its potential impact on electronics manufacturers”.

The paper looks at how the supply of tin and tantalum has a history of radical and quick change, and speculates whether the these markets are about to undergo another period of structural supply change – will new supply be hard rock, higher cost mines, in developed world countries, or less well understood low cost, alluvial and artisanal supplies in developing world locations?

The paper is based on two reports I published with ITRI last year, and an upcoming paper on “Tin in Myanmar: Production and Potential” in the academic journal, Resources Policy.