Many foreign sources of critical materials are concentrated in just one or two countries. As is the case with niobium, where nearly all of the world’s available supply is found in Canada and Brazil. Only 3 producers have shared control of the market for niobium over the past 40 years, NIOBEC, CBMM and CMOC. Besides Canada and Brazil, all other countries must rely on 100% foreign imports to obtain niobium.
The assured supply of critical materials and the resiliency of their supply chains are essential to economic and social prosperity. The manufacturing and deployment of the goods dependent on these materials provides opportunities for employment, economic and technological development. Many nations are dependent on foreign sources of critical materials, including the United States, Canada and the European Union, which have both published lists of critical raw materials that they are 100% net import reliant for. This import dependence can create severe risks for supply chains, companies, and material users. Niobium is included in these lists.
Niobium has many impressive chemical and physical properties, allowing it to withstand high heat thresholds, significantly increase steel strength and improve reliability of infrastructure all while reducing overall input costs of many products. Niobium demand is expected to greatly increase in the coming years as companies and governments continue to improve environmental sustainability and technological innovation.