Modeling mining economics and materials markets to inform criticality assessment and mitigation
Author(s)Poulizac, Claire Marie Franc̦oise
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division.
Frank R. Field, III.
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Conventional criticality-assessment methods drawn from the existing literature are often limited to evaluations of scarcity risks, or rely on price as an indicator of criticality. Such approaches, however, are ill-suited to a firm's material procurement planning. A simulation tool - the m:5 model - has been developed to model the behavior and dynamics of materials markets. Grounded on economic theory, the model also draws upon the characteristics of mining economics and market imperfections, while offering a flexible structure adaptable to different markets and requiring few inputs. The m:5 model has been designed to enable manufacturers and policy-makers to compare the outcomes of different scenarios, informing decisions about material purchasing and market regulation. Model results illustrate common behaviors of materials markets viewed as critical, such as those of Rare Earth Elements and Platinum Group Metals. Analyses illustrate the interaction between demand growth rate and market concentration, as well as the impact of price elasticity of demand on market behaviors. Moreover, an effective recycling stream is shown to be an efficient policy to mitigate price excursions, especially in the presence of disruptive events. A variety of potential private and public mitigating policies are assessed in light of model results, to address common risks encountered in critical materials markets. In addition, this thesis presents how the model can be used to actually develop and compare such policies. While the initial purposes of the model - namely, enabling scenario comparisons and gaining qualitative insights on specific materials markets - has been fulfilled in this work, future developments on the model could include the endogenous treatment of recycling and adding price-responsiveness to the handling of stock, so as to refine its correspondence to actual markets' behaviors.
Thesis (S.M. in Technology and Policy)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Engineering Systems Division, 2013.This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.Cataloged from student-submitted PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 139-143).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Engineering Systems Division.