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Mapping the Global Anthropogenic Chromium Cycle: Implications for Resource Efficiency and Potential Supply Risk

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posted on 2022-07-13, 09:29 authored by Ziyan Gao, Yong Geng, Shijiang Xiao, Mufan Zhuang
Chromium (Cr) is a critical metal due to its non-substitutable application in the metallurgy industry and highly uneven distribution of global reserve. However, there is a lack of in-depth analysis of global Cr flow patterns and its trade networks among individual cycles, which leaves the potential barriers and opportunities unexplored for improving chromium resource efficiency. Here, we employ a trade-linked multilevel material flow analysis (MFA) to map the global anthropogenic Cr cycle for year 2019. Social network analysis is also used to identify the key countries involved in the global Cr trade network. The results highlight that the global Cr cycle depends substantially on international trade in different forms, of which stainless steel is the leading application. Although South Africa, Kazakhstan, and Turkey are the major Cr primary resource suppliers, China and India play substantial roles in manufacturing Cr-containing products. Regional disparities exist in the scrap contents of individual country cycles, varying from 7% (uncertainty ranges from 4 to 11%) in China to 88% (uncertainty ranges from 87 to 89%) in India. Additionally, several countries are essential in the global Cr redistribution and in the connectivity of the Cr trade network, which may lead to their strong import dependence and even supply disruption.

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