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Study Notes

Countries with the Highest Reserves of Key Natural Resources

Level:
A-Level, IB
Board:
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB, Eduqas, WJEC

Last updated 15 Jan 2023

Here is a quick summary of countries that dominate ownership and extraction of key mineral resources such as cobalt, lithium, copper and zinc. This study note aims to provide application for students looking at primary product dependency as a barrier to economic growth and development.

Cobalt

Cobalt is a rare, metallic element that is primarily used in the production of batteries and magnets. The countries with the highest cobalt reserves are:

  1. Congo (DRC) - The Democratic Republic of Congo has the largest cobalt reserves in the world, estimated at around 48 million metric tons.
  2. Russia - Russia has the second-largest cobalt reserves, estimated at around 3 million metric tons.
  3. Canada - Canada has the third-largest cobalt reserves, estimated at around 2.5 million metric tons.
  4. Australia - Australia has the fourth-largest cobalt reserves, estimated at around 2.4 million metric tons.
  5. Cuba - Cuba has the fifth-largest cobalt reserves, estimated at around 2 million metric tons.

Others countries with notable Cobalt reserves include: Zambia, Brazil, China and New Caledonia.

It's worth noting that cobalt reserves can change as new reserves are found and as technology evolves, affecting the demand for cobalt.

Lithium

Lithium is a light metal that is primarily used in the production of batteries for electric vehicles, consumer electronics, and energy storage systems. The countries with the highest lithium reserves are:

  1. Chile - Chile has the largest lithium reserves in the world, estimated at around 7.5 million metric tons.
  2. China - China has the second-largest lithium reserves, estimated at around 3.5 million metric tons.
  3. Australia - Australia has the third-largest lithium reserves, estimated at around 2.8 million metric tons.
  4. Argentina - Argentina has the fourth-largest lithium reserves, estimated at around 2.5 million metric tons.
  5. Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe has the fifth-largest lithium reserves, estimated at around 2 million metric tons.

Others countries with notable lithium reserves include: Russia, Canada, USA, Brazil, and Congo.

Copper

Copper is a versatile metallic element that is used in a wide range of products, including electrical wiring, coins, and alloys. The countries with the highest copper reserves are:

  1. Chile - Chile has the largest copper reserves in the world, estimated at around 29 million metric tons.
  2. Peru - Peru has the second-largest copper reserves, estimated at around 20 million metric tons.
  3. China - China has the third-largest copper reserves, estimated at around 14 million metric tons.
  4. United States - United States has the fourth-largest copper reserves, estimated at around 13 million metric tons.
  5. Australia - Australia has the fifth-largest copper reserves, estimated at around 11 million metric tons.

Others countries with notable copper reserves include: Democratic Republic of Congo, Russia, Canada, and Mexico.

Zinc

Zinc is a metallic element that is primarily used in the production of galvanized steel and other alloys. The countries with the highest zinc reserves are:

  1. China - China has the largest zinc reserves in the world, estimated at around 31 million metric tons.
  2. Peru - Peru has the second-largest zinc reserves, estimated at around 18 million metric tons.
  3. Australia - Australia has the third-largest zinc reserves, estimated at around 15 million metric tons.
  4. United States - United States has the fourth-largest zinc reserves, estimated at around 13 million metric tons.
  5. Canada - Canada has the fifth-largest zinc reserves, estimated at around 11 million metric tons.

Others countries with notable zinc reserves include: India, Russia, Brazil, and Mexico.

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