Strategic metals are an essential part of 21st century life.
A strategic metal is one which is essential to an industrial process and for which there is no actual or commercially viable substitute. There are many strategic metals in various areas of industry and interest in this sector is set to grow significantly as their scarcity increases.
China currently dominates global production of strategic metals and is the leading global producer of 28 of the 52 strategic metals referred to on the British Geological Survey risk list. In addition, China dominates Rare Earth production with over 95% of current global production (despite having less than 20% of global reserves).
In recent years, there has been a rapid growth in demand for many metals with some demand compounded by the political risks associated with the geographical concentration of their supply. This has led to concern in regions such as the EU and the US where many hi-tech metals users rely almost 100% on imports.