Critical Minerals: A primer

A primer on critical minerals for policy-makers in resource-rich countries.

By Murtiani Hendriwardani, Isabelle Ramdoo on November 1, 2022

The raw materials—minerals and metals—that are necessary for renewable energy, clean technology, and our transition to a more sustainable, low-carbon future are often referred to as critical minerals. While the term "critical minerals" is commonly used, it can be poorly defined, and it is often used interchangeably with other terms, including "strategic minerals," "strategic and critical minerals," and "energy transition minerals." There is no universally agreed-upon definition of "criticality," and criticality changes over time, depending on society's needs and supply availability.

This primer provides an overview of critical minerals, considers the determinants of criticality, and covers key issues for policy-makers.