Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

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

forecast.

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.

U.S. industrial

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. ]

Estimates of

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.

[blocks in formation]

This "second interim report" was an attempt to enlarge and deepen

the data base of the first interim report of the Commission.

Its pur

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

population size."

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

are:

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.

[blocks in formation]

In the Foreword, it is indicated that countries "are grouped (for

both commodity and population data) by the similarity of growth of their

economies."

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."

It discovered

early that "population size cannot be related directly to materials policy"

23-615 O - 73 - 20

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

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

[blocks in formation]

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

increases

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

goods.

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),

and zinc.

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.

To

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

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »