This SEI Discussion Brief provides an overview of geopolitical and sustainability issues related to the global supply and demand of iron and copper.
The European Arctic holds an abundance of mineral resources and mining activities have intensified in the past decade, driven mainly by increased global demand linked to rapid expansion of the Chinese economy. Future demand of iron and copper will be driven by further economic development in countries that are in the process of industrializing, where iron is linked to initial industrial and building infrastructure while copper demand generally peaks at a later phase of economic development. The global supply or key minerals will be governed by a combination of factors, where sustainability issues related to water and energy access and to social license to operate are increasingly important. With big powerful market players, such as China, the market is also likely to be affected by geopolitical interests.