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U.S. reserves at $360 per flask are estimated at 380,000 and at $750
per flask, 935,000. Comparable figures for the rest of the world are
4,900,000 and 14,065,000.
No shortage to the year 2000 appears to be
Platinum is an extremely price-sensitive metal and industrial
demand guesses are wild.
A little byproduct platinum is produced in
the United States, but most comes from export.
demand is forecast to rise from 516,000 troy ounces in 1970 to 1,295,000
in the year 2000.
(The Commission's discussion makes no reference
to its use for dual-catalytic converters or fuel cells. ]
reserves, mostly outside the United States, range from 214.7 to 293.6
million troy ounces, depending on price.
Titanium is essentially not raw material limited; it is costly and
energy-intensive to process from the ore.
Resources are price-limited
and availability is facility-limited.
The Commission assumes that in
dustry will master the technology of scrap re-use and that the year
2000 will see 40 percent of u.s. industrial requirements met from scrap.
Total u.s. industrial requirements are projected to rise from 490,000
short tons in 1970 to 2 million in the year 2000.
This "second interim report" was an attempt to enlarge and deepen
the data base of the first interim report of the Commission.
pose was described in the Foreword as being "to present historical data
and analysis for production and consumption."
The Foreword further explained that the particular charge in the Act
to which the Commission was attempting to respond was to make a "deter
mination of national and international materials requirements, priorities,
and objectives, both current and future, including economic projections"
and also "the relations of materials policy to national and international
Scope of the Report
The report consists of a four-page Foreword, 43 pages of text discussion
of 8 materials, and 38 pages of statistical tables.
The eight materials
four metals (steel, aluminum, copper, and zinc); one non-metal
(fluorspar); and three fuel materials (coal, natural gas, and petroleum).
These are treated by tracing developments in their production and consump
tion from 1950 to 1970.
The emphasis is on major producing and consuming
country transactions in the materials.
The statistical tables, in the Appendix,
uniformly reduced to metric tons in the case of the flows of materials, are
"designed to show the total flow of materials
primary and secondary."
World population figures are also offered, for selected years 1950–1970,
from data issued by the United Nations Secretariat.
In the Foreword, it is indicated that countries "are grouped (for
both commodity and population data) by the similarity of growth of their
The groupings are as follows:
(1) United States; (2) Western
Europe (includes OECD countries, Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Turkey);
(3) Japan; (4) Other Developed Lands (includes Canada, Australia, New
Zealand, Israel, and South Africa); (5) Soviet Union; (6) Eastern European
Countries (includes Albania and Yugoslavia); (7) Africa (excludes South
Africa); (8) Asia (excludes Israel, Japan, People's Republic of China, Mongolia,
North Vietnam, and North Korea); (9) Latin America; (10) People's Republic
of China (includes Mongolia, North Vietnam, and North Korea).
It is not evident that this grouping of countries is very useful
for the proposed inquiry.
The term "similarity of growth of their economies"
is an imprecise term and, judging by the results of its asserted application,
seems to have little merit. However, in justice to the Commission staff,
it should be pointed out that the problem of grouping nations into cate
gories for analysis of their materials transactions is probably infeasible.
The grouping would differ, depending upon which criterion (consumption re
quirements, refining capacity, per capita consumption, size of population,
range of extractive and mining industry activities, volume of raw materials
produced, trade relations with
other countries, and perhaps others) was
made the central determinant.
The Commission staff admitted manfully that "projecting international
materials requirements would require a pioneer effort," and that simple
extrapolation "would have produced meaningless results."
early that "population size cannot be related directly to materials policy"
23-615 O - 73 - 20
and contracted for a study that would "present a systematic set of estimates,
based on a study of historical growth patterns and the relationship of
demand for materials to both the economic structure and the rate of economic
growth of different societies."
Having launched this effort, the Commission hopes that it will be pursued to the point where projections can be developed that will reflect the views of economists, commodity specialists, and industrial experts both in the United States and abroad. The seriousness of our materials problems and the need for action depend very much on the rate at which we expect demand to grow over a prolonged period of time. We need a data base that incorporates a reasonable vision of the future. The data base should reflect the sophisticated and considered judgment of all elements in our society that can contribute experience and expertise to its construction. The Commission found it impossible to complete the establishment of such a base within its lifetime. But it has sought to point the way with this initial piece of research.
The point being made is that the ramifications of the subject are so
vast, and the data so inchoate and indigestible, that only a determined and
continuous effort could reduce them to order.
This the Commission lacked
time and staff to do.
Analysis of the Eight Materials
The hypothesis in the report appears to be that by assembling statis
tics on the production, exports, imports, and consumption of virgin and scrap
materials, the Commission could draw some valid inferences for the future.
The text of the main section of the report does not, however, attempt to
do much of this.
Instead, it makes observations about the most significant
trends during the period 1950-1970 in the eight materials.
In this sense,
the entire report is retrospective rather than prospective.
It does not
reveal "where we are going" but rather "where we have been" in order to
For all the materials studied, the observed pattern is roughly similar
although the treatment in the report differs from one material to another.
At the beginning of the period, 1950, the United States was at a much higher
level of consumption, both nationally and per capita, than all other nations.
During the two decades 1950-1970, the United States continued to increase
its total consumption.
However, a number of other countries showed
in consumption at a much steeper rate.
Notable was Japan.
Many countries began for the first time producing their own metallics, in
stead of being merely producers and exporters of ore and importers of finished
U.S. extraction, likewise, did not increase as fast as in some other
countries, although by 1950 the United States had already become a very
large importer of many materials.
Extraction of copper and the fuel minerals
continued to increase during the period, although reserves of petroleum and
natural gas were dwindling rapidly.
Declines were registered in the extraction
of iron, bauxite (aluminum ore),
Meanwhile, resources in other
countries were discovered and developed at a much more rapid rate, so that
the United States generally lost ground as a producer of minerals.
Implicitly, the future prospect is of further decline in relative
U.S. position as a producer of minerals, except for coal and copper.
the extent that the industrial consumption of the eight materials continues
to expand in the United States, the importation of raw materials will impose
a heavy load on the U.S. balance of payments position.
The trends in consumption are generally understandable in terms of the