A Simple Assessment of the Global Long Term Supply of the Rare Earth Elements by Using a System Dynamics Model

Dejene Kifle, Harald Sverdrup, Deniz Koca, Grethe Wibetoe


Our simple dynamic-simulation model shows that the global supply of Rare Earth Elements is limited for meeting the future demands of new technologies. Unless improved recycling policies are adapted strategic elements may become scarce in the next half-century as a result of a “peak Rare Earths Elements” phenomenon. The model results also show that the market alone cannot solve the resource-inefficiency problem because the market’s instant and opportunistic nature impedes the long-term planning that is needed. Market mechanisms will only function if governments discourage wasteful practices by requiring recycling and long-term planning as conditions for the industry before the resource becomes too scarce. We conclude that technologies and industrial capacity for effectively recycling Rare Earth Elements will be in demand, and that effective recycling policy should be put in place soon to make the supply sustainable over the long-term.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5539/enrr.v3n1p77


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