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Comparative Analysis of Supply Risk-Mitigation Strategies for Critical Byproduct Minerals: A Case Study of Tellurium

Materials criticality assessment is a screening framework increasingly applied to identify materials of importance that face scarcity risks. Although these assessments highlight materials for the implicit purpose of informing future action, the aggregated nature of their findings make them difficult to use for guidance in developing nuanced mitigation strategy and policy response. As a first step in the selection of mitigation strategies, the present work proposes a modeling framework and accompanying set of metrics to directly compare strategies by measuring effectiveness of risk reduction as a function of the features of projected supply demand balance over time. The work focuses on byproduct materials, whose criticality is particularly important to understand because their supplies are inherently less responsive to market balancing forces, i.e., price feedbacks. Tellurium, a byproduct of copper refining, which is critical to solar photovoltaics, is chosen as a case study, and three commonly discussed b...

Authors:   Michele L. Bustamante; Gabrielle Gaustad; Elisa Alonso
Journal:   Environmental Science & Technology
Year:   2017
DOI:   10.1021/acs.est.7b03963
Publication date:   20-Dec-2017
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