Global critical mineral supply gap looms, IEA says

By Jack Quinn | 05/17/2024 01:23 PM EDT

The International Energy Agency’s 2024 outlook report notes that prices decreased last year, which could hamper efforts to ramp up mine exploration and development.

A worker checks car batteries at a factory in China.

A worker checks car batteries at a factory for Xinwangda Electric Vehicle Battery, which makes lithium batteries for electric cars and other uses, in Nanjing, China. A new report examines the state of critical mineral production used in electric vehicles and other green energy technologies. STR/AFP via Getty Images

Global critical mineral prices fell across the board in 2023, but heavily concentrated supply chains and insufficient production to meet anticipated future demand could pose constraints to clean energy aspirations over the long term, a new report finds.

The International Energy Agency’s Global Critical Minerals Outlook 2024 report, released Friday, identified current global market trends for a number of minerals vital to manufacturing low- and zero-carbon energy technologies, including lithium, copper, nickel, cobalt, graphite and rare earth elements. It also made projections for how these markets will change over the next decade as the global energy transition picks up speed.

“Secure and sustainable access to critical minerals is essential for smooth and affordable clean energy transitions. … [T]his new IEA analysis highlights that there is still much to do to ensure resilient and diversified supply,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol in a news release.


For companies that use critical minerals, 2023 was a banner year, IEA found, with global lithium prices dropping by 75 percent and the prices of cobalt, nickel and graphite each falling by between 30 and 45 percent. These price reductions could be seen in battery prices, which declined by 14 percent.