The rising imbalance between increased demand for minerals and their
tighter supply has resulted in growing concerns about their criticality.
This has in turn stimulated both resource-rich and resource-poor
countries to take active role in implementing mineral policy strategies.
This paper explains why different world regions responded differently to
the global problem of securing stable supply of critical minerals, in
particular of rare earths. The paper first provides an in-depth overview
of development trajectories of critical mineral strategies through a
historical case study analysis of major stakeholder regions - China, the
United States, Europe, Japan and Australia. Next, it offers answers as
to why they have responded the way they did: how national interest
considerations, resource endowment circumstances, countries’ historical
experience in tackling supply risk and their respective policy styles
influenced the development of critical mineral policy choices within a
comparative political economy framework. The overall findings show
distinctive differences in policy strategies towards critical materials.
Whereas Europe opts for a policy dialogue with resource-rich countries,
Japan and the United States have a more hands-on approach in research
and development initiatives. Australia and China instead, strive to
promote domestic mining activities and to protect their resources
through resource nationalist policies.
JEL Classification: L72, L78, O57, Q34, Q38
Keywords: raw material criticality, rare earths, national policy styles, comparative political economy