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Title:South African minerals: an analysis of Western dependence
Authors:Gustafsson, HansISNI
Odén, BertilISNI
Tegen, AndreasISNI
Series:Discussion paper
City of publisher:Uppsala
Publisher:Nordiska Afrikainstitutet
Geographic term:South Africa
External link:http://nai.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2:273657
Abstract:South African minerals have often been described as crucial to the economies of the Western world, and it has been argued that key industries will grind to halt if the supply of South African minerals were disrupted. The alleged high dependency has been used especially by those who have opposed sanctions against apartheid in South Africa. This study examines the thesis about Western dependency on South African minerals. Ten minerals claimed to be strategic are discussed: chrome, platinum metals, manganese, cobalt, vanadium, titanium, antimony, andalusite, chrysotile asbestos, and industrial diamonds. The world production and trade pattern and the position of South Africa, the main consumer countries, the effects of sanctions, and the role of South Africa in the present trade pattern are analysed. This is followed by a review of a number of recent reports on how dependent the industrialized market economies are, and an analysis of the assumptions the conclusions of the reports are based on, as regards what minerals are critical, time perspective, demand and supply elasticity including recycling, substitution, alternative sources and technological developments. One of the conclusions is that, although disruption of South African minerals will create short-term and sometimes medium-term difficulties for industries in the market economy countries, many of the documents referred to in this study seem to exaggerate the effects.