Aluminium for the future: Modelling the global production, market supply, demand, price and long term development of the global reserves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The reserves, production from mines, supply of aluminium to society and mass fluxes of aluminium in society was assessed using an integrated systems dynamics model (ALUMINIUM) in order to reconstruct the past and investigate potential future scenarios. The investigations for input data show that the mine- able aluminium reserves are large, but finite. We get an average value for the ultimately recoverable reserve to be about 20–25 billion ton aluminium. The production of aluminium at present is 50 million ton per year. Continuing business-as-usual consumption with sustained global population growth above 7 billion people combined with a decline in cheap fossil fuels, aluminium may in the long perspective be a more expensive product than today. Should the event of a need for substituting a significant part of copper, iron, steel and stainless steel with aluminium arise, the time to scarcity for aluminium could become an issue within the next four decades. Ultimately, continuation of the aluminium production may in the future become limited by access to energy. Whereas aluminium primary production may go through a peak in the next decades, supply to society will not reach a peak before the end of the century, because of recycling from the stock in society. The model suggests that the supply level will decline to 2014 level sometime around 2250, or 230 years into the future.


  • Harald Sverdrup
  • Kristin Vala Ragnarsdottir
  • Deniz Koca
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Earth and Related Environmental Sciences


  • Aluminium, Mining, System Dynamics, Reserves, Price
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-154
JournalResources, Conservation & Recycling
Issue number103
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch