Aluminium for the future: Modelling the global production, market supply, demand, price and long term development of the global reserves

Harald U. Sverdrup*, Kristin Vala Ragnarsdottir, Deniz Koca

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The reserves, production from mines, supply of aluminium to society and mass fluxes of aluminium in society was assessed using an integrated systems dynamics model (ALUMINIUM) in order to reconstruct the past and investigate potential future scenarios. The investigations for input data show that the mineable aluminium reserves are large, but finite. We get an average value for the ultimately recoverable reserve to be about 20-25 billion ton aluminium. The production of aluminium at present is 50 million ton per year. Continuing business-as-usual consumption with sustained global population growth above 7 billion people combined with a decline in cheap fossil fuels, aluminium may in the long perspective be a more expensive product than today. Should the event of a need for substituting a significant part of copper, iron, steel and stainless steel with aluminium arise, the time to scarcity for aluminium could become an issue within the next four decades. Ultimately, continuation of the aluminium production may in the future become limited by access to energy. Whereas aluminium primary production may go through a peak in the next decades, supply to society will not reach a peak before the end of the century, because of recycling from the stock in society. The model suggests that the supply level will decline to 2014 level sometime around 2250, or 230 years into the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-154
Number of pages16
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Volume103
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Other keywords

  • Aluminium
  • Mining
  • Price
  • Reserves
  • Systems dynamics

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