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Metal Supply - Where does your metal come from?


The Metal Supply Center is designed as an educational platform for anybody interested in where metals come from. It is based on annual records maintained by the US Geological Survey going back to 1930. Each of the featured metals has its own web page which includes a link to the USGS web page dedicated to that metal. The database that underpins the supply evolution graphics has been manually compiled from the USGS annual report archives. When I first embarked on this project it was mainly out of historical curiosity and a desire to see how demand had grown over time, in particular during the 2000-2010 China super-cycle decade which created a metal price boom that drove a resource sector bull market. The China super-cycle was driven by globalization which enabled capital to place its supply chains in the lowest cost, least regulated, and geopolitically friendliest jurisdictions. The rare earth bubble in 2010-2012 was the first warning that while relying on the lowest cost raw material producer worked well for profit-maximizing strategies based on just-in-time delivery, it exposed business operations to geopolitically driven security of supply risks. The question of where do your metals come from became of interest to resource juniors during the past decade when innovative technologies such as the electric vehicle generated new demand for certain metals such as cobalt and lithium. In recent years the Metal Supply Center has grown relevant to consumers and investors as the result of a growing backlash against the concept of globalization. Although consumers in developed nations have benefited greatly from cheap prices for goods and services made possible by globalization, this also enabled China to emerge as the second largest economy after the United States. The arrival of Xi Jinping as the leader for life of the Chinese Communist Party expanded China's ambition to rival the United States in its role as sole super-power whose dollar serves as the world's reserve currency. The result has been a backlash not just against globalization but against China specifically, exacerbated by the shabby way China's leadership dealt with the early onset of Covid-19 in late 2019. The economic fallout from the failure of the United States to take the emerging pandemic threat seriously in January 2020 so that a lockdown response to "flatten the curve" might not have been necessary has raised global tensions and spawned widespread support for a Blame China reaction that is now being packaged as the "new cold war". A look at the Metal Criticality Center reveals major raw material supply chain vulnerabilities if the relationship between China and the Rest of the World breaks down. The question, where does your metal come from, is no longer just of academic and historical interest. It is the rallying cry of a an emerging critical metals mania in the junior resource sector.
Alumina
Aluminum
Antimony
Bauxite
Beryllium
Bismuth
Boron
Chromium
Cobalt
Copper
DiamondVal
Gallium
Germanium
Gold
Graphite
Indium
Iron
Lead
Lithium
Magnesium
Manganese
Molybdenum
Nickel
Niobium
Oil
Palladium
Phosphate
Platinum
Potash
REO
Rhenium
Selenium
Silver
Tantalum
Tellurium
Tin
Titanium
Tungsten
Uranium
Vanadium
Zinc
Zirconium
 
 

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