Metals and Mining
All across the world Governments are encouraging investment in low carbon technologies, from wind-energy generation to electric vehicles. Investing in such technologies has technical, financial and political challenges. Security of supply of raw materials that are essential to the provision of current and emerging low carbon technologies is an issue that must not be overlooked.
Rare Earth metals are a case in point. The current generation of hybrid and electric vehicles and wind turbines uses substantial quantities of Rare Earth elements in the form of high-strength magnets and rechargeable batteries. The key Rare Earths used for these applications are neodymium, dysprosium and terbium (for the permanent magnets) and lanthanum (for the batteries).
Metals security Read more
The issues around materials criticality can be quite complex, and vary considerably from metal to metal. Most metals do not suffer from an absolute scarcity in the Earth’s crust, though they may be dispersed in a way that makes them costly to extract. More frequently they are unavailable to the market due to their limited supply from a small number of high grade sources, combined with policies developed around resource nationalism or export taxes and quotas. In addition responses to mitigate metals security (e.g. recycling, reuse, substitution) require a good understanding of the supply chain, technology evaluation and the science behind their applications.
Metals recovery Read more
Metals recovery is put forward as a key approach for alleviating material security concerns (along with substitution). Recovery rates are often hampered by a lack of collection and separation of the products, particularly for speciality metals where the degree of dispersion can be high. For many metals recycling technologies do exist to at least demonstration level, but implementation for large scale recycling will require significant investment. This has the potential to complement primary extraction, although not replace it due to the forecast demand growth rates and longevity of products.
Oakdene Hollins has in-depth knowledge of the sector and excellent capability to conduct any analysis around materials security, scarcity issues and responses. We have conducted work for governmental organisations, mining companies and private investors.
Some of our reports in this area are available for download; others are sensitive and are not for publication. If there are further questions that you have on this issue please contact us.
Within each industry sector, Oakdene Hollins has expert knowledge where we employ science-based disciplines to deliver research and consultancy projects within a number of key services
We offer cross discipline teams combining specialist technical staff with economists and input from a business leader. We write reports that are technically robust for audiences in the investment community and senior management.
Within the clean tech, wastes management, chemicals, metals and nanotechnology sectors we offer specialist staff to provide evaluation and comparative studies.
Protocol and Standards Development
Without agreed standards and protocols pricing is difficult, transaction costs higher and investors wary. We bring industry stakeholders together, sometimes from across a supply chain, to develop protocols and new standards that improve markets.
An element of many of our market and technology appraisal services, we design and deliver economic models that summarise the impacts of changes in variables such as price, taxes, costs and scale efficiencies. Wherever possible we deliver models in common applications to enable clients to test the underlying assumptions and scenarios.
Lean Manufacturing Projects
Lean manufacturing techniques provide a framework that informs much of our work. We promote performance measurement and benchmarking with industry best practice as key themes of many lean projects and can provide the tools and specialist production staff to advise and lead process improvement.
Financial Impact Assessment
Proposals to change regulation can impact whole industry sectors. We provide analysis of these impacts to support trade associations and their member companies when proposals are being developed.
Management of Research Projects
Since 1995 we have provided technical staff to manage, monitor and evaluate research projects, often those involving collaboration between universities, supply chain companies and a principal funder in the UK or in Europe. Examples include working with ASDA to manage the installation of five self-service refillable retailing systems for fabric conditioner and measuring the business and environmental outcomes of the project. Elsewhere, we provide highly qualified and experienced staff to monitor the management of research projects on behalf of the TSB (Technology Strategy Board).
The Europe-wide Ecolabel is being promoted as an independently assessed assurance of eco credentials. The technical evaluation is often detailed and complex; our aim is to assist companies with environmentally positive products and services to understand and meet the requirements. The number of products and services being assessed by our staff as suitable is growing every month. Get in touch if you have a product or service that could qualify.
In an assessment of the CO2 emissions (and the equivalent global warming gases) of products and services, we provide written analysis using data derived from SimaPro and product specific data defined by ISO standards.
Critical Review of Life Cycle Assessments
We have provided chairmanship and expertise to numerous critical review panels for Life Cycle Assessments. We offer staff trained in the use of SimaPro software and inventory and have particular strengths in the interpretation of impact assessments.