Appendix

Critical commodities summaries:
Characteristics, supply, demand, and criticality

Information for metals, non-metals and minerals in the following tables was compiled by Geoscience Australia from the sources listed below.

  • Geological and mineral systems information:
    • Rudnick and Gao (2003) and Section 2 of this report and references therein.
  • Data on production and resources:
    • United States Geological Survey (2012) and Geoscience Australia (2013) for 2011 resources and production data.
  • Demand data:
  • Information on properties, usages, recycling and substition:
    • European Commission (2010), United States Geological Survey (2012), United States Department of Energy (2010), and Willis and Chapman (2012).
Antimony (Sb)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Silvery white, shiny, very brittle metal that is a semi-conductor and resistant to acids.
Usages Antimony is used in flame retardants, as an alloying material for Pb and Sn, and in micro capacitors.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is 0.2 ppm; major Sb-bearing minerals include stibnite and tetrahedrite.
Mineral system groups Porphyry-epithermal, subaqueous volcanic-related, orogenic and basin-hosted.
Extraction Main product or co-product (with Au).
SUPPLY
Global production 169 kt
Major producing countries China (150 kt) 89% Bolivia (5 kt) 3%
Global resources 1800 kt
Major resource holders China ( 950 kt) 53%
Russia (350 kt) 19%
Bolivia (310 kt) 17%
Australian production 1.6 kt (1%)
Australian resources (EDR) 106 kt (6%)
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources Developments in processing technologies allowing recovery from Zn-Pb-Ag ores, and discovery of new Sb-Au deposits in the orogenic mineral system.
Recycling Small amounts recycled from Pb-acid batteries.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
Ores and concentrates China 205 748 533
India 20 038 298
Italy 10 754 572
Thailand 8 626 003
Kyrgyzstan 5 210 119
SUBSTITUTION Flame retardant substitutes are organic compounds and hydrated aluminium oxide.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) High (14)
Arsenic (As)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Grey, brittle metal that has low hardness and is a semiconductor.
Usages High-purity As (99.9999%) is used in gallium-arsenide semiconductors for solar cells, space research, and telecommunication. Arsenic is also used in germanium-arsenide-selenide specialty optical materials and indium-gallium-arsenide short-wave infrared technology. Arsenic trioxide is used in the production of chromated copper arsenate (CCA) wood preservatives.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is 2.5 ppm; major As-bearing minerals include arsenopyite, realgar, orpiment, arsenical pyrite and tennantite.
Mineral system group Porphyry-epithermal, granite-related, subaqueous volcanic-related, orogenic and basin-hosted
Extraction By-product of non-ferrous metal and Au smelting.
SUPPLY
Global production 52 kt
Major producing countries China (25 kt) 48%
Chile (11.5 kt) 22%
Morocco (8 kt) 15%
Global resources Quantitative global estimates are not available. Arsenopyrite is the primary ore mineral. Arsenic is also reclaimed as a by-product of nonferrous metal and Au smelting.
Major resource holders Global resources are thought to be 20 times annual global production.
Australian production Not available
Australian resources (EDR) Not available
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources Recovery of As from ores, concentrates and tails from existing mining operations.
Recycling Arsenic metal is recycled from gallium-arsenide semiconductor manufacturing, and arsenic trioxide is also recycled in wood treatment plants.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
  Japan 5 518 044
China 2 700 348
US 2 256 152
France 1 342 726
India 1 282 216
SUBSTITUTION Arsenic substitutions for CCA wood treatments include alkaline copper quaternary, ammoniacal copper quaternary, ammoniacal copper zinc arsenate, copper azole, and copper citrate. In addition, CCA treated wood alternatives include concrete, steel, and plastic composite material.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) Low (3)
Barium (Ba)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Soft, silvery-white metal that oxidises rapidly and has good electrical conductivity.
Usages Barium is used in metal alloys including solders and to remove gases from vacuum tubes. Barium compounds are used in medicine, fluorescent lighting electrodes, glass, ceramics and fireworks. Barite is used in drilling muds.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is 456 ppm; the most important Ba-bearing minerals is barite.
Mineral system group Porphyry-epithermal, granite-related, subaqueous volcanic-related and basin-hosted.
Extraction Main product
SUPPLY
Global production 7800 kt (reported as barite [BaSO4 ] ).
Major producing countries China (4000 kt) 51%
India (1100 kt) 14%
Morocco (650 kt) 8%
Global resources 240 000 kt
Major resource holders China (100 000 kt) 42%
India (32 000 kt) 13%
Algeria (29 000 kt) 12%
Australian production Not available
Australian resources (EDR) Not available
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources Recovery of barite from barite lenses associated with Zn-Pb-Ag deposit from the volcanic-related and basin-hosted mineral systems.
Recycling None
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
(Reported as barite [BaSO4] and witherite [BaCO2]) US 147 781 979
Germany 58 888 240
Colombia 25 180 978
Canada 24 064 231
Netherlands 23 307 218
SUBSTITUTION Few suitable substitutes exist.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) Low (3)
Beryllium (Be)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Steel gray, low density metal that is hard and brittle at room temperature, is highly toxic, and has a high melting point (1287°C).
Usages Beryllium is used in telecom equipment, automotive electronics, aerospace and defence, and industrial components.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is 1.9 ppm; major Be-bearing minerals include bertrandite, beryl, chrysoberyl and phenakite.
Mineral system group Granite-related.
Extraction Main product.
SUPPLY
Global production 240 t
Major producing countries US (210 t) 88%
China (22 t) 9%
Mozambique (2 t) 1%
Global resources World Be resources are not sufficiently well delineated to report consistent figures for all countries.
Major resource holders Not available
Australian production Not available
Australian resources (EDR) Not available
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources Discovery of new pegmatitic resources in the igneous-related mineral system.
Recycling Beryllium is recycled mostly from new scrap generated during the manufacture of Be products. About 19% of Be consumption is recycled from scrap.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
  US 4 529 343
Singapore 3 613 880
France 3 012 436
Germany 1 882 597
United Kingdom 1 678 668
SUBSTITUTION A few substitutes can substitute for Be, but are less effective.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) Medium (7)
Bismuth (Bi)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Silvery-white, brittle metal that has low thermal conductivity and is diamagnetic.
Usages Bismuth is often used in free-machining steels, brass, pigments and solders (as a non-toxic replacement for lead), in pharmaceuticals, as an additive to enhance metallurgical quality in foundry, and as a triggering mechanism in fire sprinklers. Substitution of Pb by Bi in solders may result in increased demand.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is 0.18 ppm; major Bi-bearing minerals include bismuthinite, athough Bi can be an important trace to minor constituent of galena.
Mineral system group Porphyry-epithermal, granite-related, subaqueous volcanic-related, orogenic and basin-hosted.
Extraction By-product of Pb smelting.
SUPPLY
Global production 8.5 kt
Major producing countries China (6 kt) 71%
Peru (1.1 kt) 13%
Mexico (1 kt) 12%
Global resources 320 kt
Major resource holders China (240 kt) 75%
Peru (11 kt) 3%
Mexico (10 kt) 3%
Australian production Not available
Australian resources (EDR) Not available
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources Recovery of Bi from ores and concentrates from existing mining operations; minor potential for skarn and related deposit types in the porphryry-epithermal and granite-related mineral systems.
Recycling Bismuth is recycled from both new and old scrap, accounting for 10% of U.S. consumption (80 tons).
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
  US 41 343 577
Germany 32 812 564
China, Hong Kong SAR 15 237 058
China 12 402 843
Republic of Korea 10 836 391
SUBSTITUTION Titanium dioxide coated mica flakes are substitutes in pigments; In can replace Bi in low-temperature solders; resins can replace Bi in machining; and glycerine-filled glass bulbs can replace Bi alloys in fire sprinkler triggering devices.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) Medium (6)
Cadmium (Cd)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Bluish-white, soft, malleable metal that is dutile and resistant to corrosion.
Usages The dominant use for Cd is in Ni-Cd batteries; it is also used in pigments, coatings and plating, stabilisers for PVC, nonferrous alloys and specialised uses including photovoltaic devices.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is 0.08 ppm; major Cd-bearing minerals include greenockite and sphalerite (as a trace element).
Mineral system group Porphyry-epithermal, granite-related, subaqueous volcanic-related, orogenic and basin-hosted.
Extraction By-product of Zn smelting. Typical Zn:Cd ratios in Zn ores range from 200:1 to 400:1.
SUPPLY
Global production 21.5 kt (refinery production)
Major producing countries China (7.5 kt)
Korea, Republic of (2.5 kt)
Japan (2 kt)
Global resources 640 kt
Major resource holders India (130 kt)
China (92 kt)
Australia (61 kt)
Australian production 0.38 kt
Australian resources (EDR) 61 kt
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources Recovery of Cd from ores and concentrates from existing mining operations.
Recycling Most Cd is recycled from spent consumer and industrial Ni-Cd batteries. Cadmium also recovered from Cu-Cd alloy and some complex nonferrous alloy scrap.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
  China 26 842 371
Belgium 16 874 896
Malaysia 4 917 003
Sweden 3 752 573
US 2 220 400
SUBSTITUTION Li-ion and Ni-metal hydride batteries can replace Ni-Cd batteries, however their higher cost restricts use in low-cost products. Zinc or vapour-deposited Al can substitute in plating applications where Cd is non-essential. Cerium sulphide can substitute in paints and Ba/Zn or Ca/Zn stabilisers can replace Ba/Cd stabilisers in PVC applications.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) Low (2)
Chromium (Cr)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Hard metal with a high melting point (1907°C) that is resistant to tarnish. Chromium is antiferromagnetic at room temperature and paramagnetic above 38°C. It is passivated by oxygen making it stable to acids.
Usages Chromium is used in stainless and heat resistant steels, super alloys, non-ferrous alloys, and pigments.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is 135 ppm; major Cr-bearing minerals include chromite.
Mineral system group Mafic-ultramafic orthomagmatic and surficial.
Extraction Main product.
SUPPLY
Global production 24 000 kt
Major producing countries South Africa (11 000 kt) 46%
Kazakhstan (3900 kt) 16%
India (3800 kt) 16%
Global resources >480 000 kt
Major resource holders Kazakhstan (220 000 kt) 46%
South Africa (200 000 kt) 42%
India (54 000 kt) 11%
Australian production 66.1 kt (0.3%)
Australian resources (EDR) Not available
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources Development of known deposits and discovery of new deposits in large igneous provinces.
Recycling Recycled from scrap Cr-bearing steel and alloys. Recycled Cr accounts for about 30% of consumption.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
Ores and concentrates China 2 663 968 517
Germany 72 478 097
US 68 873 106
Russia 60 035 206
Netherlands 54 774 762
SUBSTITUTION Chromium has no substitute in stainless steel. Chromium-containing scrap can substitute for ferrochromium in some metallurgical uses.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) High (12)
Cobalt (Co)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Ferromagnetic metal that is hard and lustrous.
Usages Emerging technologies the could use Co include Li-ion batteries and synthetic fuels. The most important present use for Co is superalloys, steel, and magnets.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is 26.6 ppm; major Co-bearing minerals include cobaltite and cobaltian pyrite.
Mineral system group Mafic-ultramafic orthomagmatic and basin-hosted.
Extraction By-product, co-product of Cu mining (e.g., Congo and Zambia).
SUPPLY
Global production 98 kt
Major producing countries Congo (52 kt) 53%
Canada (7.2 kt) 7%
China (6.5 kt) 7%
Russia (6.3 kt) 6%
Global resources 7 334 kt
Major resource holders Congo (3400 kt) 46%
Australia (1204 kt )16%1
Cuba (500 kt) 7%
Australian production 3.85 kt (4%)
Australian resources (EDR) 1204 kt (16%)
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources Development of known deposits and discovery of new deposits in large igneous provinces. Extraction of Co from basin-hosted Cu deposits.
Recycling Cobalt can be recycled from scrap Co-bearing steel and superalloys. Recycling amounted to 25% of Co comsumption.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
Ores and concentrates China 850 265 891
Zambia 119 262 698
Finland 55 161 351
India 28 211 094
Republic of Korea 19 217 981
SUBSTITUTION Nickel-based superalloys can substitute Co superalloys; various metals can substitute in steel; and various substitutions are possible in batteries. In some applications, substitution results in a loss of performance.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) High (21)

1 Includes pre-JORC and JORC-compliant (422 kt) resources.

Copper (Cu)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Highly ductile and malleable metal that has very high thermal and electrical conductivity.
Usages Copper is used in electronics and power cabling, household and commercial plumbing, refrigeration, cooling and radiator tubing, and telecommunications.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is 27 ppm; major Cu-bearing minerals include chalcopyrite, bornite, chalcocite.
Mineral system group Porphyry-epithermal, granite-related, mafic-ultramafic orthomagmatic, iron-oxide copper-gold, subaqueous volcanic-related, orogenic, basin-hosted, alkaline intrusion-related and surficial.
Extraction Main product.
SUPPLY
Global production 16 100 kt
Major producing countries Chile (5420 kt) 34%
Peru (1220 kt) 8%
China (1190 kt) 7%
US (1120 kt) 7%
Global resources 690 000 kt
Major resource holders Chile (190 000 kt) 28%
Peru (90 000 kt) 13%
Australia (86 600 kt) 13%
Australian production 960 kt (6%)
Australian resources (EDR) 86 600 kt (13%)
Australian exports Ore and Concentrates 1818 kt (China 579 kt, India 586 kt, Japan 386 kt, Republic of Korea 191 kt.) Refined 395 kt (China 146 kt, Chinese Taipei 54 kt, Malaysia 89 kt, Thailand 44 kt. )
Australian potential for new resources Further discoveries in most mineral provinces from many different mineral systems.
Recycling Copper is recycled from both new and old scrap. Recycling of scrap yielded approximatly 820 000 tons of Cu. Recycling of Cu in U.S. totalled 33% of supply.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
  China 15 338 994 191
Japan 11 513 173 899
Republic of Korea 5 634 034 192
India 5 283 700 367
Spain 3 667 855 826
SUBSTITUTION Aluminium substitutes for Cu in power cables, electrical equipment, automobile radiators, cooling and refrigeration tube; Ti and steel are used in heat exchangers; optical fibre substitutes for Cu in telecommunications; and plastics substitute for Cu in water pipe, drain pipe, and plumbing fixtures.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) Low (2)
Fluorine (F)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Pale-yellow, highly reactive and toxic gas.
Usages The F used indistrially is mostly in the form of the mineral fluorite (or fluorspar). Flourite is used for the production of hydrofluoric (HF) acid for the production of virtually all F-bearing chemicals; fluorite is used in processing of U and as a flux in steel making, iron and steel casting, Al production, glass, enamels, and cement production.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is 553 ppm; major F-bearing minerals include fluorite (also known as fluorspar).
Mineral system group Granite-related and basin-hosted.
Extraction  
SUPPLY
Global production 6200 kt (reported as fluorite [ CaF2 ] )
Major producing countries China (3300 kt) 53% Mexico (1080 kt) 17% Mongolia (430 kt) 7%
Global resources 240 000 kt fluorite
Major resource holders South Africa (41 000 kt) 17% Mexico (32 000 kt) 13% China (24 000 kt) 10%
Australian production Not available
Australian resources (EDR) Not available
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential new resources Extraction of fluorite from known occurrences, possibly including some operating mines.
Recycling Some synthetic fluorite is recovered from U enrichment. HF and fluorides are routinely recycled by Al smelting operations. A few thousand tonnes are recycled in the US.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
(Reported with bromine) China 78 226 486
Belgium 48 533 300
India 20 799 646
United Kingdom 14 795 018
France 13 311 769
SUBSTITUTION Borax, CaCl2, Fe oxides, Mn ore, silica sand and TiO2 have been used as substitutes for fluorite fluxes.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) Medium (6)
Gallium (Ga)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Silvery white metal that has a low melting point (29.7°C), a high boiling point (2204°C), and is a semiconductor.
Usages Gallium is used in integrated circuits (ICs), laser diodes, LEDs, photodetectors, and thin layer photovoltaics.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is 16 ppm; in nature Ga occurs as a trace element in bauxite and sphalerite.
Mineral system group Subaqueous volcanic-related, orogenic, basin-hosted and surficial.
Extraction By-product of Zn smelting.
SUPPLY
Global production 216 t (primary production) 270 t (refinery production) 198 t (recycling production)
Major producing countries China, Germany, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine.
Global resources Quantitative estimates are not available. Gallium is a by-product of treating bauxite, and from Zn-processing residues.
Major resource holders Not available
Australian production Not available
Australian resources (EDR) Not available
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources Extraction from ores and concentrates from existing mining operations, particularly Zn and bauxite mines.
Recycling Recycled from scrap generated in the manufacture of Ga-As-based devices.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
(Total of Ga, Hf, In, Nb and Re metal, including waste and scrap, powder and unwrought) Japan 420 186 347
US 311 426 717
United Kingdom 193 412 096
Republic of Korea 105 816 585
Germany 98 629 086
SUBSTITUTION Organic compounds substitution for LEDs in visual displays, indium phosphide components can substitute Ga-As-based infrared laser diodes in some cases and silicon substitutes in solar cell technology.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) High (29)
Germanium (Ge)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Grey-white metalloid that is hard, lustrous and semiconducting.
Usages Germanium is used in fibre and infrared optics, as polymerisation catalysts, and in electronic and solar electric applications.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is 1.3 ppm; in nature Ge occurs as a trace element in sphalerite and coal.
Mineral system group Subaqueous volcanic-related, orogenic and basin-hosted.
Extraction By-product of Zn smelting.
SUPPLY
Global production 118 t (refinery production)
Major producing countries China (80 t) 68%
Russia (5 t) 4%
US (3 t) 3%
Global resources Quantitative global estimates are not available. By-product of Zn, and Zn-Pb sulfides.
Major resource holders US (450 t)
Australian production Not available
Australian resources (EDR) Not available
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources Extraction from ores and concentrates from existing mining operations, particularly Zn and possibly coal mines.
Recycling Germanium metal used in the optics industry is routinely recycled from new scrap. Worldwide approximatly 30% consumed Ge is produced from recycled materials.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
(2010 data for articles thereof waste or scrap/powders) Ukraine 101 889
Morocco 968
SUBSTITUTION Silicon substitutes for Ge in some electronic applications. Zinc selenide can be substituted in infrared applications but at performance loss. Tantalum, Sb and Ti can be substituted as a polymerisation catalyst.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) Medium (8)
Graphite (C)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Iron-black mineral with a metallic-earthy luster that is an electrical and thermal conductor, has high thermal resistance, is inert and can be used as a lubricant.
Usages Uses of graphite include carbon-graphite composites, electronics, foils, friction materials and special lubricant applications. Flexible graphite products and large-scale fuel cell application developments may become high users of graphite.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is 1800 ppm (total C); in nature graphite is one of a number of forms of C.
Mineral system group (Metamorphosed) basin-hosted.
Extraction Main product.
SUPPLY
Global production 925 kt
Major producing countries China (600 kt) 65%
India (140 kt) 15%
Brazil (76 kt) 8%
Global resources 77 000 kt
Major resource holders China (55 000 kt) 71%
India (11 000 kt) 14%
Mexico (3100 kt) 4%
Australian production Not available
Australian resources (EDR) Not available
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources Development of existing resources and new discoveries in metamorphosed reduced-C-rich basins.
Recycling Refractory graphite material is recycled into products including brake linings and thermal insulation. Recovery of high-quality flake graphite is technically feasible but not currently practiced.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
Natural mineral Japan 133 830 815
US 86 833 498
Germany 65 432 230
China 33 523 090
Austria 31 904 446
SUBSTITUTION Graphite has few suitable substitutes.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) Medium (8)
Helium (He)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Colourless, odorless, tastless, non toxic and inert gas that has the lowest boiling and melting points.
Usages Helium is used in cryogenics, cooling systems in MRI scanners, LCD and fibre optics
Geological occurrence Helium, a product of radioactive decay, accumulates with natural gas in hydrocarbon traps.
Mineral system group Basin-hosted.
Extraction By-product of natural gas production
SUPPLY
Global production 180 *hm3
Major producing countries US (57 hm3) 32%
US extracted from natural gas (83 hm3) 46%
Algeria (20 hm3) 11%
Global resources World helium resources are not sufficiently well delineated to report consistent figures for all countries.
Major resource holders US (4000 hm3)
Algeria (1800 hm3)
Russia (1700 hm3)
Australian production Not available
Australian resources (EDR) Not available
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources Extraction of He from existing and new natural gas developments.
Recycling Helium is seldom recycled. Japan and Western Europe recycle when economically viable.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
(No specific trade data on helium, data are for rare gases other than argon) Japan 86 206 708
France 85 876 005
Germany 80 049 816
United Kingdom 78 146 893
Republic of Korea 73 681 134
SUBSTITUTION There is no substitute for He in cryogenic applications if temperatures are below –256°C. Argon can substitute in welding and H in lighter than air applications.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) Not assessed

* hm3 – million cubic metres

Indium (In)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Silvery white, dense metal that forms alloys with most other metals and generally increases strength, corrosion resistance and hardness.
Usages Indium tin oxide (ITO) thin-film coatings are used for electrically conductive purposes in flat-panel, TV and smart phone devices. Other uses include electrical components and semiconductors, solders, alloys and compounds.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is 0.052 ppm; In occurs mostly as a trace element in sphalerite.
Mineral system group Subaqueous volcanic-related, orogenic and basin-hosted.
Extraction By-product of Zn-Pb, Cu and Sn mining and smelting.
SUPPLY
Global production 0.64 kt
Major producing countries China (0.34 kt) 53%
Korea, Republic of (0.10 kt) 16%
Japan (0.07 kt) 11%
Canada (0.065 kt) 10%
Global resources Not available
Major resource holders Not available
Australian production Not available
Australian resources (EDR) Not available
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources Extraction from ores and concentrates from existing mining operations, particularly Zn mines.
Recycling Indium is recycled from scrap W-bearing steel and superalloys. Recycling is very inefficient, and constitutes a very small (<1%) fraction of supply.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
(Total of Ga, Hf, In, Nb and Re metal, including waste and scrap, powder and unwrought) Japan 420 186 347
US 311 426 717
United Kingdom 193 412 096
Republic of Korea 105 816 585
Germany 98 629 086
SUBSTITUTION Antimony can substitute for In in ITO. Carbon nanotube coatings and organic compounds substitutes for ITO in solar cells, flexible displays and touch screens; Hf can replace In in nuclear reactor control rod alloys.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) High (26)
Lithium (Li)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Shiny, silvery, tough and soft metal that forms strong alloy, is very reactive and has the lowest denisty of all know solids at room temperature.
Usages Lithium is used in batteries, ceramics and glass.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is 16 ppm; Li occurs mostly in spodumene and lepidolite, but also in salt lake and oil field brines.
Mineral system group Intrusion-related and surficial.
Extraction Main product.
SUPPLY
Global production 34 kt (excludes US production figures).
Major producing countries Chile (12.6 kt) 37%
Australia (11.7 kt) 34%
China (5.2 kt) 15%
Global resources 13 000 kt
Major resource holders Chile (7500 kt) 58%
China (3500 kt) 27%
Australia (1006 kt) 8%
Australian production 11.7 kt (34%)
Australian resources (EDR) 1006 kt (8%)
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources Identification of Li resources associated with known and new pegmatite fields, and discovery of Li-enriched salt lakes.
Recycling Small amounts of Li were recycled from batteries, recycling is increasing. EU has set a target of 45% of batteries recycled by 2016.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
Lithium oxide and hydroxides Japan 26 659 300
Belgium 15 760 658
India 11 056 408
US 9 092 107
Republic of Korea 8 451 205
Lithium carbonates Japan 80 810 031
US 58 435 216
Republic of Korea 52 903 670
Germany 41 792 911
China 33 569 842
SUBSTITUTION Battery substitution includes Ca, Mg, Hg, and Zn. Various substitutions available for ceramics and glass.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) High (14)
Manganese (Mn)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Silvery-grey metal, that is hard, very brittle and paramagnetic.
Usages Manganese is alloyed in steel and Al, and is used in batteries and fertiliser.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is 770 ppm; the main Mn mineral is pyrolusite.
Mineral system group Basin-hosted and surficial.
Extraction Main product.
SUPPLY
Global production 14 000 kt Mn metal
Major producing countries South Africa (3400 kt) 24%
China (2800 kt) 20%
Australia (2400 kt) 17%
Global resources 630 000 kt Mn metal
Major resource holders South Africa (150 000 kt) 24%
Ukraine (140 000 kt) 22%
Brazil (110 000 kt) 17%
Australian production 6960 kt (manganese ore)
Australian resources (EDR) 197 000 kt (manganese ore)
Australian exports 6876 kt (2011–12)
Australian potential for new resources Further discoveries possible in shallow environments of marine basins.
Recycling Minor amounts of Mn are recovered along with Fe from steel slag.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
(including waste and scrap) Germany 199 380 657
US 192 053 084
Canada 166 801 825
Japan 139 696 543
United Kingdom 67 874 738
SUBSTITUTION Manganese has no satisfactory substitute in major applications.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) High (12)
Mercury (Hg)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Heavy, silvery-white liquid at room temperature that is a poor conductor of heat but can conduct electricity, and has low melting (−38.8290°C) and boiling (356.73°C) points.
Usages Mercury is used in fluorescent and neon lamps, Hg-Zn batteries and during the production of Cl and caustic soda.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is 0.03 ppm; major Hg-bearing minerals include realgar and sphalerite (as a trace element).
Mineral system group Porphyry-epithermal, granite-related, subaqueous volcanic-related, orogenic and basin-hosted.
Extraction Main product.
SUPPLY
Global production 1.93 kt
Major producing countries China (1.4 kt) 73%
Kyrgyzstan (0.25 kt) 13%
Chile (by product) (0.10 kt) 5%
Global resources 93 kt
Major resource holders Mexico (27 kt) 29%
China (21 kt) 23%
Kyrgyzstan (7.5 kt) 8%
Australian production Not available
Australian resources (EDR) Not available
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources Further discoveries of epithermal deposits in the porphyry-epithermal system and recovery from Zn concentrates from subaqueous volcanic-related and basin-hosted systems.
Recycling Mercury can be recycled from all Hg-containing products. However, the use of non-Hg substitutes has resulted in a reduction in Hg-containing products for recycling.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
Metal Singapore 28 279 980
India 12 552 446
China, Hong Kong SAR 11 656 390
Peru 9 858 781
Netherlands 7 867 004
SUBSTITUTION An alloy of Ga, In, and Sn now replaces the Hg used in traditional Hg thermometers; LED lighting can substitute fluorescent lamps; Li, Ni-Cd, and Zn-air batteries replace Hg-Zn batteries.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) Low (3)
Molybdenum (Mo)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Lustrous silver-white, hard and brittle metal that has high mechanical strength, a low coefficient of thermal expansion and good heat conductivity.
Usages Molybdenum is used in steel and superalloys and as a lubricant.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is 0.8 ppm; the major Mo-bearing mineral is molybdenite.
Mineral system group Porphyry-epithermal, granite-related and iron-oxide copper-gold.
Extraction Main product, co-product, by-product.
SUPPLY
Global production 250 kt
Major producing countries China (94 kt) 38%
US (64 kt) 26%
Chile (38 kt) 15%
Global resources 10 100 kt
Major resource holders China (4300 kt) 43%
US (2700 kt) 27%
Chile (1200 kt) 12%
Australian production 0%
Australian resources (EDR) 167 kt (1.6%)
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources Further discoveries of Mo-dominated deposits from granite-related and iron-oxide copper-gold systems, and recovery as by-product from porphyry-epithermal systems (porphyry copper deposits).
Recycling Small amounts of Mo metal and superalloys are recovered. Molybdenum is reutilised through recycling of Mo bearing steel. Up to 30% of the supply of Mo is recycled.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
Ores and concentrates Japan 814 862 216
Netherlands 781 967 149
Chile 681 702 979
Belgium 675 128 036
US 462 792 400
SUBSTITUTION Few substitutes exist for the major applications of Mo.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) High (15)
Nickel (Ni)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Hard, ductile and malleable metal.
Usages Nickel is used in stainless steel and super alloys, and in non-ferrous alloys
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is 59 ppm; the major Ni-bearing minerals include pentlandite, millerite and violarite.
Mineral system group Mafic-ultramafic orthomagmatic and surficial.
Extraction Main product.
SUPPLY
Global production 1810 kt
Major producing countries Russia (280 kt) 16%
Philippines (230 kt) 13%
Indonesia (230 kt) 13%
Australia (215 kt) 12%
Canada (200 kt) 11%
Global resources 76 000 kt
Major resource holders Australia (20 400 kt) 27%1
New Caledonia (12 000 kt) 16%
Russia (6000 kt) 8%
Australian production 215 kt (12%)
Australian resources (EDR) 20 400 kt (27%)
Australian exports 240 kt (2011–2012)
Australian potential for new resources Further discoveries in known districts and greenfields areas associated with major large igneous provinces. Production from Ni laterites dependent on advances in extraction technology.
Recycling Nickel is recycled from scrap Ni bearing steel and alloys. 95 000 tonnes were recycled from scrap in 2012.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
Ores and concentrates China 4 905 363 978
Finland 535 272 036
Canada 423 498 212
Japan 355 426 043
Netherlands 209 679 103
SUBSTITUTION Nickel-free specialty steels are sometimes used in place of stainless steel, ultra-high-Cr can replace Ni in stainless steels and other alloys can substitute for Ni metal or Ni-based alloys.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) High (13)

1 Includes pre-JORC and JORC-compliant (5500 kt) data.

Niobium (Nb)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Soft and ductile metal with good resistance to organic and inorganic acids.
Usages Niobium is used in micro capacitors, steel and ferroalloys.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is 8 ppm; Nb occurs as a minor element in minerals such as columbite, pyrochlore and euxinite.
Mineral system group Granite-related and alkaline intrusion-related.
Extraction Co-product, by-product.
SUPPLY
Global production 63 kt
Major producing countries Brazil (58 kt) 92%
Canada (4.4 kt) 7%
Global resources 3000 kt
Major resource holders Brazil (2900 kt) 97%
Canada (200 kt) 3%
Australian production Not available
Australian resources (EDR) 205 kt (7%)
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources Production as a by-product of rare-earth element mining operations in alkaline intrusion-related systems, and also from pegmatites from granite-related mineral systems.
Recycling Recycled from scrap Nb-bearing steel and superalloys, possibly up to 20%.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
(Total of Ga, Hf, In, Nb and Re metal, including waste and scrap, powder and unwrought) Japan 420 186 347
US 311 426 717
United Kingdom 193 412 096
Republic of Korea 105 816 585
Germany 98 629 086
SUBSTITUTION Substitution by Mo and V in high-strength, low alloy steel and by Ta and Ti in stainless and high-strength steels is possible but it may involve higher costs and/or a loss in performance.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) High (20)
Platinum Group Elements (PGE) - Platinum (Pt) and Palladium (Pd)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Metals characterised by catalytic properties, resistance to wear, tarnish, and chemical attack, and by stable electrical properties.
Usages Platinum and Pd are both used in catalytic converters. Platinum is used in electronic applications and fuel cells, and Pd is used in seawater desalination.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundances of platinum-group elements (PGE) are 0.57 ppb, 0.2 ppb, 1.5 ppb, 0.041 ppb, 0.037 ppb, and 1.5 ppb for Ru, Rh, Pd, Os, Ir and Pt, respectively. Platinum-group elements occur as metallic alloys, sulfide and arsenide minerals.
Mineral system group Mafic-ultramafic orthomagmatic, alkaline intrusion-related, and surficial.
Extraction Main product, by-product.
SUPPLY
Global production Platinum: 195 t Palladium: 215 t
Major producing countries South Africa 227 t (Pt and Pd)
Russia 111 t (Pt and Pd)
Global resources 6 600 t PGEs
Major resource holders South Africa (6 300 t PGE) 95%
Russia (1 100 t PGE) 17%
US (900 t PGE) 14%
Australian production 0.441 t
Australian resources (EDR) 4.7 t
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources Greatest potential for PGE production is from mafic-ultramafic bodies associated with major large igneous provinces. Platinum group elements can be produced as by-product from existing Ni mines.
Recycling Recycling from industrial process catalysts and of PGE equipment. 150 000 kg were recovered from scrap in 2012.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
(Total including Pt, Pd, Rh, Ir and Ru&mdash;unwrought, semi-manufactured or powder form) Japan 5 960 513 378
US 5 564 267 162
China 5 438 225 080
Switzerland 4 084 208 327
United Kingdom 3 812 285 084
SUBSTITUTION Motor vehicles substitute Pd for Pt in catalytic converters. Some PGEs can be substituted for the other PGEs.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) High (22)
Rare-earth elements (REE), including scandium (Sc) and yttrium (Y)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties There are 17 rare-earth elements (REE) each with different properties.
Usages Rare-earth elements are used in magnets, catalysts, metal alloys, polishing powders, phosphors, energy storage and superconductors.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundances are 20 ppm, 43 ppm, 4.9 ppm, 20 ppm, 3.9 ppm, 1.1 ppm, 3.7 ppm, 0.6 ppm, 3.6 ppm, 0.77 ppm, 2.1 ppm, 0.28 ppm, 1.9 ppm, 0.30 ppm, 21.9 ppm and 19 ppm for La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tr, Yb, Lu, Sc and Y, respectively. Rare-earth elements occur as minor to trace elements in many minerals, but major REE-bearing minerals include carbonates (e.g. bastnäsite), phosphates (e.g. monazite, xenotime) and silicates (e.g. allanite).
Mineral system group Granite-related, iron-oxide copper-gold, alkaline intrusion-related, surficial (lanthanides and Y) and mafic-ultramafic orthomagmatic (Sc only).
Extraction Main product, co-product.
SUPPLY
Global production REO (rare-earth oxides): 133 kt, Y2O3 8.9 kt
Major producing countries REO: China (130 kt) 97.7%, India (3 kt) 2.25%.
Y2O3: China (8.8 kt) 98.88%
Global resources REO: 114 000 kt
Y2O3: 540 kt
Major resource holders REO:
China (55 000 kt) 48%
CIS (19 000 kt) 17%
US (13 000 kt) 11%
Y
2O3:
China (220 kt): 40.7%
US (120 kt): 22.2%
Australia (100 kt): 18.5%
Australian production None as of December 2011
Australian resources (EDR) REO and Y2O3: 2070 kt
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources Alkaline intrusion-related and iron-oxide copper-gold systems have high potential for rare-earth and associated elements. The Olympic Dam mine one of the two largest REE deposits globally but currently these elements are not recovered.
Recycling Small amounts mostly magnet scrap.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
(Rare-earth metals, scandium and yttrium only) Japan 714 949 741
US 70 814 886
China, Hong Kong SAR 38 338 569
Germany 24 408 750
Austria 17 100 656
SUBSTITUTION Substitutes are available, but less effective.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) High (29)
Rhenium (Re)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Very dense metal with a very high melting point (3186°C).
Usages Rhenium is used in superalloys for high-temperature turbine engine components and in catalytic converters.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is 0.188 ppb; the major source of Re is as a minor element in molybdenite.
Mineral system group Porphyry-epithermal and iron-oxide copper-gold.
Extraction By-product.
SUPPLY
Global production 49 t
Major producing countries Chile (26 t) 53%
US (6.3 t) 12%
Peru (5 t) 10%
Global resources 2.5 kt
Major resource holders Chile (1.3) 52%
US (0.39) 16%
Russia (0.31) 12.4%
Australian production Not available
Australian resources (EDR) Not available
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources Further discovery of Mo-rich deposits in the iron-oxide copper-gold mineral system, and possible recovery as a by-product from existing porphyry Cu mines.
Recycling Rhenium in spent Pt-Re catalysts are routinely recycled. Some Re is recycled from other alloys.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
(Total of Ga, Hf, In, Nb and Re metal, including waste and scrap, powder and unwrought) Japan 420 186 347
US 311 426 717
United Kingdom 193 412 096
Republic of Korea 105 816 585
Germany 98 629 086
SUBSTITUTION Rhodium and Rh-Ir can substitute in high-temperature thermocouples; numerous metals may substitute for Re in catalyst applications.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) Low (1)
Selenium (Se)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Non-metal semiconductor.
Usages An emerging use for Se is thin film photovoltaic copper-indium-gallium-diselenide (CIGS) solar cells. Other uses include alloys for free-machining metals, as an additive, with Ca, in plastics, ceramics and glass to produce a ruby red colour, as an oxidation catalyst, and as a dietary supplement in humans and livestock.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is 0.13 ppm; the major source of Se is as a minor element in chalcopyrite, but there are a large range of selenide, selenate and selenite minerals.
Mineral system group Porphyry-epithermal, granite-related, mafic-ultramafic orthomagmatic, iron-oxide copper-gold and subaqueous volcanic-related.
Extraction Selenium is a by-product of Cu and to a lesser extent Ni.
SUPPLY
Global production 2 kt
Major producing countries Germany (0.65 kt) 33%
Japan (0.63 kt) 32%
Belgium (0.20 kt) 10%
Global resources 93 kt
Major resource holders Chile (20 kt) 22%
Russia (20 kt) 22%
Peru (13 kt) 14%
Australian production Not available
Australian resources (EDR) Not available
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources Recovery from Cu concentrates produced from existing Cu mines.
Recycling Very small amounts of selnium are recovered from obsolete xerographic machines and electronic materials.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
  China 185 867 890
US 71 072 261
China, Hong Kong SAR 51 737 739
United Kingdom 44 938 044
Germany 28 570 942
SUBSTITUTION High-purity silicon is a major substitute for low- and medium-voltage rectifiers and solar photovoltaic cells. Organic pigments can substitute for cadmium sulfo-selenide pigments.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) Medium (11)
Strontium (Sr)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Soft silver-white or yellow metal that is chemically highly reactive and pyrophoric in powdered form.
Usages Strontium is used in fireworks, ferrite ceramic magnets, glass and ceramics, metal alloys, and pigments
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is 320 ppm; the major Sr minerals include strontianite and celestite, although Sr is a trace element in many other minerals.
Mineral system group Basin-hosted.
Extraction  
SUPPLY
Global production 380 kt
Major producing countries China (210 kt) 55%
Spain (120 kt) 32%
Mexico (35 kt) 9%
Global resources 6 800 kt
Major resource holders Not available
Australian production Not available
Australian resources (EDR) Not available
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources Uncertain but most likely in the basin-hosted mineral system.
Recycling None
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
Strontium carbonate Japan 23 994 166
US 15 376 670
Republic of Korea 14 249 084
France 3 324 116
India 2 823 942
SUBSTITUTION Barium can replace Sr in ferrite ceramic magnets but reduces operating temperatures.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) Medium (9)
Tantalum (Ta)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Blue grey, lustrous, hard, tough and dutile metal that is very resistant to corrosion from acids, has high thermal and electrical conductivity, and a high melting point (3107°C).
Usages Tantalum is used in electronic micro-capacitors and medical technology.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is 0.7 ppm; the major source of Ta is tantalite and columbite, although there are a number of other rare Ta minerals.
Mineral system group Granite-related.
Extraction Main product, co-product, by-product.
SUPPLY
Global production 0.79 kt
Major producing countries Brazil (0.18 kt) 23%
Mozambique (0.12 kt) 15%
Rwanda (0.11 kt) 14%
Australia (0.08 kt) 10%
Global resources 131 kt
Major resource holders Brazil (65 kt) 50%
Australia (62 kt) 47%
Mozambique (3.2 kt) 2%
Australian production Not available
Australian resources (EDR) 62 kt
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources Reopening of historic mines, (e.g. Wodgina) and discovery of Ta-bearing permatites in known and greenfields pegmatite fields.
Recycling Recycling is limited, mostly from new scrap, Ta bearing steel and superalloys.
DEMAND Not available
SUBSTITUTION Tantalum is difficult to substitute, with the possibility of performance loss.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) High (13)
Tellurium (Te)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Metallic, silvery-white metalloid that is brittle and easily pulverised, is a semiconductor, and resists oxidation by air.
Usages Uses of Te include high performance photovoltaics and steel alloys.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is approximately 1 ppb; the major source of Te is a trace element in chalcopyrite, but it occurs in a large range of telluride minerals.
Mineral system group Porphyry-epithermal, granite-related, mafic-ultramafic orthomagmatic, iron-oxide copper-gold, subaqueous volcanic-related, and orogenic.
Extraction By-product.
SUPPLY
Global production Not available
Major producing countries Not available
Global resources Quantitative estimates are not available, by-product of Cu mining
Major resource holders Not available
Australian production Not available
Australian resources (EDR) Not available
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources Recovery as a by-product from the processing of copper concentrates.
Recycling Small amounts of Te are recovered from scrapped Se-Te photoreceptors employed in older photocopiers. Recycling amounts to < 10% of supply but is growing.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
(Reported in combination with boron) China, Hong Kong SAR 108 811 101
Canada 31 699 268
Germany 26 597 710
Malaysia 23 754 768
Belgium 19 920 944
SUBSTITUTION Substitutes, including Se, are available, but are less effective.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) High (13)
Thorium (Th)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Soft, very ductile metal that is dimorphic.
Usages Thorium’s most important emerging technology is in nuclear reactor cores where some properties are seen as being more favourable than U. Thorium is also used in a Mg alloy for application in aircraft engines and rockets, in lamp mantles and in gas tungsten arc welding.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is approximately 5.6 ppm; the major source of Th is monazite and related minerals, although it occurs in a large range of rare oxide and silicate minerals.
Mineral system group Iron-oxide copper-gold, alkaline intrusion-related and surficial (heavy mineral sand deposits).
Extraction Co-product.
SUPPLY
Global production Not available
Major producing countries Not available
Global resources 1 400 kt (ThO2)
Major resource holders US (440 kt ThO2) 31%
Australia (410 kt ThO2) 29%
India (290 kt ThO2) 21%
Australian production Not available
Australian resources (EDR) Not available
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources Recovery of monazite from heavy mineral sand deposits and certain alkaline intrusion-related deposits.
Recycling None  
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
  China 20 516 699
Thailand 3 770 935
China, Hong Kong SAR 1 048 114
France 79 311
Spain 59 865
SUBSTITUTION Nonradioactive substitutes for Th include Y compounds in incandescent lamp mantles; a Mg alloy containing lanthanides; Y, and Zn can substitute for Mg-Th alloys in aerospace applications.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) Low (3)
Tin (Sn)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Silvery, malleable and ductile metal that is not easily oxidised in air and has a low melting point (232°C).
Usages Tin is used in industrial and electronic solders, flat and touch screen technologies (as indium tin oxide (ITO)), alloys and compounds.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is approximately 1.7 ppm; the major source of Sn is cassiterite, although it occurs in a large range of sulfide and silicate minerals.
Mineral system group Granite-related, subaqueous volcanic-related and surficial.
Extraction Main product, co-product.
SUPPLY
Global production 253 kt
Major producing countries China (110 kt) 43%
Indonesia (51 kt) 20%
Peru (34.6 kt) 14%
Global resources 4 863 kt
Major resource holders China (1500 kt) 31%
Indonesia (800 kt) 17%
Brazil (590 kt) 12%
Australian production 5 kt (2%)
Australian resources (EDR) 243 kt (5%)
Australian exports 4909 t (2011–2012)
Australian potential for new resources New discoveries and redevelopment of historic mines/districts, particularly in the Tasmanides Belt.
Recycling Recycled from scrap tin bearing steel and alloys. 13 000 tons recovered from recycling in 2012 in the US.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
Ores and concentrates Malaysia 433 854 861
China 113 037 598
Thailand 8 362 160
Rwanda 5 741 020
Russia 5 300 055
SUBSTITUTION Metal substitutes include aluminium alloys, Cu-based alloys. Plastics also substitutes for Sn in some applications.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) Medium (8)
Titanium (Ti)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Low density metal with high mechanical strength, high melting point, low thermal expansion coefficient and a high resistance to saltwater and acids.
Usages Titanium is used in TiO2 pigments, carbides, chemicals and as an alloy in steel and superalloys.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is approximately 0.43%; the major source of Ti is ilmenite but other significant Ti-minerals include titanite and rutile (and other TiO2 polymorphs).
Mineral system group Mafic-ultramafic orthomagmatic and surficial.
Extraction Main product, co-product.
SUPPLY
Global production Metal sponge: 186 000 kt (Ti) (excludes US production)
Ilmenite: 6000 kt (TiO2)
Rutile: 700 kt (TiO2) (excludes US production)
Major producing countries Metal sponge (Ti): China (60 000 kt) 32%, Japan (56 000 kt) 30%
Ilmenite: South Africa (1030 kt (TiO2) 17%, Australia (900 kt TiO2) 15%
Rutile: Australia (400 kt TiO2) 57%, South Africa (131 kt TiO2) 19%
Global resources Metal sponge: 283 000 kt (Ti)
Ilmenite: 650 000 kt (TiO2)
Rutile: 42 000 kt (TiO2)
Major resource holders Metal sponge (Ti): China (114 000 kt) 40%, Japan (62 200 kt) 22%
Ilmenite: China (200 000 kt TiO2) 31%, Australia (100 000 kt TiO2) 15%
Rutile: Australia (18 000 kt TiO2) 43%, South Africa (8 300 kt TiO2) 20%
Australian production Metal sponge: Not available
Ilmenite: 1277 kt concentrate
Rutile: 474 kt concentrate
Australian resources (EDR) Metal sponge: Not available
Ilmenite: 188 900 kt concentrate
Rutile: 27 200 kt concentrate
Australian exports Ilmenite concentrate: 2045 kt
Leucoxene concentrate: 31 kt
Rutile concentrate: 334 kt
Titanium dioxide pigment: 179 kt
Australian potential for new resources Discovery of new heavy mineral sand deposits and lesser potential from mafic-ultramafic orthomagmatic systems.
Recycling Titanium is recycled from scrap Ti-bearing steel and alloys (approximatly 35 000 tons in 2012).
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
Ores and concentrates China 549 455 455
US 296 219 208
Germany 251 624 351
Japan 191 942 639
Belgium 145 458 552
SUBSTITUTION Substitution for high-strength applications includes Al, composites, intermetallics, steel, and superalloys. Corrosion resistance substitutions include Al, Ni, and Zr alloys. Pigment substitutions are CaCO3, talc and kaolin.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) Medium (10)
Tungsten (W)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Steel-grey metal that is brittle, has a very high melting point (3422°C), the lowest vapor pressure (at temperatures above 1 650°C) and the highest tensile strength. Tungsten has the lowest coefficient of thermal expansion of any pure metal.
Usages Major uses of W include electronic applications, lighting, construction, steel and alloys, and mining,
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is approximately 1 ppm; the major source of W is wolframite and scheelite.
Mineral system group Granite-related and surficial.
Extraction Main product.
SUPPLY
Global production 72 kt (excludes US production figures)
Major producing countries China (60 kt) 83%
Russia (3.1 kt) 4%
Canada (2 kt) 3%
Global resources 3300 kt
Major resource holders China (1900 kt) 58%
Australia (376 kt) 11%
Russia (250 kt) 8%
US (140 kt) 4%
Canada (120 kt) 4%
Australian production 0.015 kt (0.02%)
Australian resources (EDR) 376 kt (12%)
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources New discoveries and redevelopment of historic mines/districts, particularly in the Tasmanides Belt.
Recycling Recycled from scrap W bearing steel and superalloys. 35% to 40% of W is recycled Globally.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
  China 159 073 668
US 121 547 126
Austria 73 851 567
Germany 15 136 212
Japan 7 802 238
SUBSTITUTION Substitutes for tungsten carbide include molybdenum carbide, titanium carbide, ceramics, ceramic-metal composites and tool steel. Molybdenum steel can substitute for tungsten steel, and there are several substitutes for W in lighting. Depleted U can be substituted in armaments, and Pb can be used for radiation shielding.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) High (23)
Vanadium (V)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Silver-grey ductile and malleable metal that is hard, not brittle, and has good resistance to corrosion and acids.
Usages Vanadium is used as alloy in Fe and steel, superalloys, chemical catalysts and batteries.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is approximately 138 ppm; the major source of V is from V-bearing magnetite, although it also occurs as vanadinite, carnotite and other uncommon minerals.
Mineral system group Mafic-ultramafic orthomagmatic, basin-hosted and surficial.
Extraction Co-product.
SUPPLY
Global production 60 kt
Major producing countries China (23 kt) 38%
South Africa (20 kt) 33%
Russia (15 kt) 25%
Global resources 15 000 kt
Major resource holders China (5100 kt) 34%
Russia (5000 kt) 33%
Australian production Not available
Australian resources (EDR) 1519 kt (10%)
Australian exports Not available
Australian potential for new resources Development of known V-rich magnetite deposits, e.g. Windimurra and Balla Balla, and sediment-hosted deposits, e.g. Julia Creek, and discovery of new deposits associated with large igneous provinces.
Recycling The majority of recycled V comes from spent chemical process catalysts, a small amount are recycled from V bearing tool scrap metal.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
(2006 data: articles thereof, waste or scrap/powders) United Kingdom 16 031 908
Japan 14 725 206
Russia 9 789 370
China 7 527 518
Germany 7 217 000
SUBSTITUTION Manganese, Mo, Nb, Ti, and W are interchangeable with V as alloying elements in steel to some degree. Platinum and Ni can replace V compounds as catalysts.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) High (13)
Zirconium (Zr)
CHARACTERISTICS
Properties Soft metal that is resistant to corrosion, with a melting point of 1855°C, and a boiling point of 4371°C.
Usages Zirconium metal is used for cladding nuclear reactor fuels and Zr compounds are used in a variety high temperature applications such as moulds for molten metals.
Geological occurrence Crustal abundance is approximately 132 ppm; the major source of Zr is zircon (ZrSiO4), although there are a number of other minor to trace Zr-bearing minerals.
Mineral system group Alkaline intrusion-related and surficial (heavy mineral sand deposits).
Extraction Main product, co-product.
SUPPLY
Global production 975 kt (ZrO2)
Major producing countries Australia (512 kt ZrO2) 53%
South Africa (255 kt ZrO2) 26%
China (67 kt ZrO2) 7%
Global resources 62 320 kt (ZrO2)
Major resource holders Australia (31 320 kt ZrO2) 50%
South Africa (14 000 kt ZrO2) 22%
Ukraine (4000 kt ZrO2) 6%
Australian production 512 kt (ZrO2)
Australian resources (EDR) 31 320 kt (ZrO2)
Australian exports Zircon (ZrSiO4) concentrate: 846 kt (2011–2012)
Australian potential for new resources Discovery of new heavy mineral sand deposits; possible by-product of certain REE deposits (e.g. Hastings).
Recycling Most recycled from new scrap, during metal production and fabrication. Some old scrap is also recycled.
DEMAND Country Import value ($US)
Ores and concentrates China 1 174 489 142
Spain 252 948 694
Italy 144 044 422
Japan 131 175 779
India 101 572 807
SUBSTITUTION Chromite and olivine can be substituted for some foundry applications. Dolomite and spinel can also substitute in high temperature applications. Niobium, stainless steel and Ta provide limited substitution in nuclear applications.
CRITICALITY (SCORE) Medium (6)

Topic contact: minerals@ga.gov.au Last updated: September 10, 2013