Critical mineral security in China: An evaluation based on hybrid MCDM methods

Long Zhang, Wuliyasu Bai, Jing Yu, Linmao Ma, Jingzheng Ren, Weishi Zhang, Yuanzheng Cui

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


With economic globalization, the supply-and-demand gap of China's minerals is becoming increasingly sharp, and the degree of dependence on imports is climbing, which poses a severe threat to the resource security for the country. From the perspectives of system and sustainable development, this paper develops a conceptual framework of mineral security, which is composed of five dimensions: availability, accessibility, technology and efficiency, sociability and governance, and environmental sustainability. Based on this framework, it constructs the evaluating metrics for measuring mineral security. Moreover, it employs the hybrid multiple criteria decision-making methods of Fuzzy analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and preference ranking organization method for enrichment evaluation (PROMETHEE) to assess the security performance for China's several critical minerals, namely iron, copper, aluminum, lead, zinc, and nickel, with respect to the period of 2001 to 2015. The result indicates that the critical minerals of China were at a low to moderate level of security. Iron, copper, and nickel were in an unsecure situation for their short supply in China, and showed a downswing trend. On the other hand, as the preponderant minerals, lead and zinc were at a relatively secure position and uprising; however, they were exhausting their superiority for the huge and rapid-growth economic demand. Aluminum, as a mineral that China seriously depends on for imports, also demonstrated an upward trend due to the successful management of diversity of importing sources.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4114
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2018


  • China
  • Critical mineral security
  • Multiple criterial decision-making
  • Policy implications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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