The British Geological Survey (BGS) on Wednesday published the latest list of the 52 elements, minerals and metals most at risk of supply disruption because global production is concentrated in a few countries, many with unstable governments.
Surprisingly rare earths used in green technology and defence do not top the list but comes in at number five. Antimony, extracted mainly from stibnite (pictured), widely used for fireproofing is most at risk. The platinum group metals (auto catalysts) hold the second spot while niobium used in touch screens and scanners and tungsten for cutting tools are also at risk of supply disruption as a result of increased competition among the world's growing economies, political instability, resource nationalism, along with events such as strikes and accidents. China is the number one producer of 50% of the 52 chemicals on the list and produces 75% of the world's antimony.
China supplies over three-quarters of the world total of antimony with the remainder coming from Russia, South Africa, Tajikistan and Bolivia. The platinum group metals are concentrated in South Africa and Zimbabwe while China produces 95% of the world's rare earths elements. MINING.com reported last week how the world is scrambling for rare earths after China latest crackdown on its industry sent prices rocketing.
Image of stibnite ore from which most antimony, a native element, is extracted.