Chinese assessments of “critical” and “strategic” raw materials: Concepts, categories, policies, and implications

Patrik Andersson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Most research assumes that China works strategically with raw materials, and assessments of raw material criticality are shaped in part by perceptions of China's resource policies and strategies. Few, however, have studied the domestic debates and expert advice on raw material criticality that inform China's resource strategies. Based on a study of Chinese-language policy documents and academic articles, as well as conversations with Chinese researchers, this article explores how various categories of “strategic” and “critical” raw materials are constructed, bargained, and changed in China. Influenced in part by international discussions of criticality, Chinese assessments of the “strategic-ness” of mineral raw materials have supported the development of a Chinese prioritization and categorization scheme for raw materials, including the establishment of China's first official catalogue of 24 “strategic minerals” in 2016. Mineral categorization produced by Chinese experts and policymakers have an industrial and societal impact. Policies have been adopted to strengthen China's domestic supply capacity of minerals defined as “strategic” and different sub-categories of “strategic minerals” are subject to different policies and degrees of regulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-137
Number of pages11
JournalThe Extractive Industries and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Categorization
  • China's resources policy
  • Criticality construct
  • Expert assessment
  • Strategic mineral
  • MiMa

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 4: Mineral Resources


Dive into the research topics of 'Chinese assessments of “critical” and “strategic” raw materials: Concepts, categories, policies, and implications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this