Understanding relative metal prices and availability: Combining physical and economic perspectives

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Best-fit, log-linear relationships and 95% confidence between prices, abundance and energy
Best-fit, log-linear relationships and 95% confidence between prices and abundance

CMI researchers at Colorado School of Mines conducted the research for this highlight

Achievement

  • Evaluates the role of crustal abundance, energy requirements in production and other physical indicators in determining relative metal prices – within an economic market model. 
  • Based on a sample of 22 chemical elements over the period 1970-2013.

Significance and Impact

  • Finds that energy requirements explain 43% of observed variation in prices, crustal abundance 21% and other physical factors 12%.
  • Implies that research in material science should give greater priority to reducing energy inputs to material production than to using elements with relatively high average crustal abundance.
Best-fit, log-linear relationships and 95% confidence between prices, abundance and energy
Best-fit, log-linear relationships and 95% confidence between prices and energy