Vital but Vulnerable: UK Critical Minerals Policy

Critical Minerals – What are they and why are they important?

In the coming years and decades, critical minerals policy will only increase in importance. In the short term, countries will look to secure critical minerals supplies to provision their defence industries and militaries as the risk of conflict around the world increases. In the long term, demand for critical minerals will grow as part of the net zero transition, with green industries making up a larger part of national economies.

In the UK context, although the Critical Minerals Strategy and other related UK strategies show the UK Government is cognisant of the need to make progress in this space, the UK’s proposed actions are unlikely to change the geopolitical status quo on critical minerals.

Without sufficient domestic geological reserves to meet domestic demand, the UK has rightly identified that it is best placed to use international leadership to address challenges around critical mineral supply. However, the proposed measures are unlikely to tip the balance away from the Chinese domination of the industry.

This Dods Political Intelligence report provides an overview of why critical minerals are important, the global context surrounding critical minerals, and the UK policy in the sector. The report concludes with an evaluation of the effectiveness of the UK Government’s policy on critical minerals, which argues that while the UK’s policy is correctly oriented, it is unlikely to address the structural problems in the critical minerals supply chain in the short term.


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