Non-renewable resources must be used as economically as possible, to prevent their rapid exhaustion and ensure they benefit all humankind and future generations. Yet, in this paper we make plausible that several mineral resources may be depleted within the next 100 years unless effective policies help reduce extraction to more sustainable levels. In this paper, we investigate eleven policy instruments that could advance the sustainable use of antimony, boron, gold, molybdenum, and rhenium. We conclude that gold and rhenium do not require a specific approach. Their market price is so high and their recycling from most products so rewarding that little of them is dissipated in the environment, or disposed of in landfills. Almost all extracted gold and rhenium remains available for use. This market effect does not apply to antimony, boron, and molybdenum. Our assessment is that the most effective measure for achieving a more sustainable extraction rate for these three materials is to establish global extraction quotas. However, the necessary international agreement involves many interests and will take much time to be achieved. Moving toward more sustainable use of these metals requires other policy instruments (e.g., banning certain applications from the market; promoting or obliging recycling-oriented product design; imposing levies on scarce resources; subsidizing recycled material; and imposing levies or prohibiting disposal of products in landfills). A precondition for successful global mineral resources governance is the establishment of an International Competence Center on Mineral Resources Management.
- International Competence Center on Mineral Resources Management
- Mineral resources governance