Primary Materials in the Emerging Circular Economy: Implications for upstream resource producers and primary material exporters

This review provides an initial attempt to consider the implications of emerging global CE frameworks for upstream natural resource producers. The general picture that has emerged from this research is that while CE policies may reduce demand for primary raw materials in some developed economies, an inconvenient truth for many popular conceptualizations of the CE is that a preponderance of evidence from the World Bank, UN Environment Programme (UNEP)’s International Resources Panel, OECD, and others suggests ongoing (and likely increasing) demand for primary metals and minerals over the coming decades, even with increased rates of material recovery, reuse, and recycling. This understanding is driven by expectations of the material requirements for a low-carbon transition, alongside projections of material demands from emerging economies and realistic assessments of secondary material supply constraints in the near- to medium-term.

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