Rare metals play a strategic and essential role in health – by Michel Jébrak, Jack-Pierre Piguet and Yann Gunzburger (The Conversation – March 16, 2021)


The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the fact that most countries do not have sufficient health sovereignty to face such a crisis. Shortages of masks, respirators, medicines and now vaccines were felt in many countries, even the most advanced.

These problems show that our societies are dependent on certain countries for essential products. But what about metals?

Our research team has been working for a few years on the interactions between earth sciences and social sciences, especially around the concept of social geology and the dynamics of resource-rich territories.

The notion of critical and strategic minerals goes back to the wars of the 19th century. At the end of the Second World War, the United States built up stocks of metals. However, the overabundance of metals at the end of the 20th century and globalization led western states to abandon their proactive policy in this field.

Awareness of dependence on imported mineral resources did not return until the late 1990s, with the emergence of Asian economies and new monopolies.

The list of critical and strategic metals varies from country to country, ranging from a dozen for the French National Defence to the 35 metals listed in the decree of President Donald Trump in 2018.

For the rest of this article: https://theconversation.com/rare-metals-play-a-strategic-and-essential-role-in-health-156358