There is “no evidence” that strategic metals such as platinum, titanium and the rare earth metals are intrinsically scarce, the British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) has warned a committee of MPs.
The BMRA was invited to give evidence to a House of Commons select committee enquiry into strategically important metals to the UK. The enquiry sought to identify whether there is a shortage of the metals and whether it is desirable, or easy to recycle them.
In written evidence, the BMRA told the committee: “Our understanding of the primary sources of most of those metals described as strategically important is that these are plentiful although the extraction process may have a very high cost attached to it. We have no evidence that the metals listed are intrinsically ‘scarce’.”
The Association, whose members handle 95% of the metal recycled in the UK also cautioned against Government intervention on behalf of manufacturers or processors to secure against declining metal supplies, arguing that it will “disrupt and distort the market in that commodity”.
Its evidence said: “The UK should resist some of the narrower interests present in Europe at this time who would seek to restrict the export of valuable recycled metals in order to artificially deflate the price of this material to European manufacturers, who in turn wish to export the goods.”
However, a recent AEA report into future resource risks faced by UK businesses warned: “Despite the development of new global production it is likely that there will be long term shortages of certain rare earth elements as supply lags behind demand. As a consequence it is likely that the UK will face long term supply availability issues.”