The Geopolitics of Critical Mineral Supply Chains

The Geopolitics of Critical Mineral Supply Chains

Virtual Briefing Series

Monday, October 2nd, 2023 | 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM ET

Vital to both the economy and national security, critical minerals are the lifeblood of the modern world. These essential resources power industries that drive innovation, but their supply chains is vulnerable to disruption. As nations increase their reliance on electrical energy and transition to low-carbon power sources, the demand for these minerals, including aluminum, cobalt, lithium, manganese, and nickel, has surged dramatically. This surge is projected to increase by more than 450 percent by 2050, aligning with the ambitious goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. Beyond meeting their domestic clean energy needs, countries are engaged in a complex dance of geopolitics and geoeconomics, as these minerals become potential tools of influence on the global stage. What is the current landscape of the critical minerals supply chains? Which geopolitical changes will affect the global supply chain of these minerals? What strategies are nations employing to secure their access to these pivotal resources? Can the vulnerabilities exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic serve as a catalyst for redefining global mineral supply chains? Join us on Monday, October 2nd from 12 PM to 1 PM ET for a virtual discussion with Dr. Morgan Bazilian, Director of the Payne Institute and a professor of public policy at the Colorado School of Mines; and The Hon. Sharon E. Burke, the Founder and President of Ecospherics, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy.

COULDN’T ATTEND OUR EVENT? Don’t worry. You can watch it below



Morgan Bazilian, The President’s Inbox: Critical Minerals and China, Podcast Episode, 2023.

Sharon E. Burke, Critical Minerals: Global Supply Chains and Indo-Pacific Relations, 2022. Article begins on page 35.

Zoe Liu, How to Secure Critical Minerals for Clean Energy Without Alienating China, 2023.

Jane Nakano, The Geopolitics of Critical Minerals Supply Chains, 2021.



Morgan D. Bazilian

Morgan D. Bazilian is the Director of the Payne Institute and a professor of public policy at the Colorado School of Mines. Previously, he was lead energy specialist at the World Bank. He has over two decades of experience in the energy sector and is regarded as a leading expert in international affairs, policy and investment. He is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Dr. Bazilian holds two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in areas related to energy systems and markets, and has been a Fulbright fellow. He holds, or has held, several academic affiliations including at Columbia University, Cambridge University, the Royal Institute of Technology of Sweden, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. He is on the editorial boards of Environmental Research Letters, Energy strategy Reviews, and Energy Research and Social Science. He has published more than 120 articles in learned journals. His book, Analytical Methods for Energy Diversity and Security is considered a seminal piece in the area of energy finance and security. His work has been published in inter alia, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Nature, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Dr. Bazilian is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Advisory Council on Energy, as well as the Global Advisory Council of the Sustainable Finance Programme at Oxford University. Previously, he was a Deputy Director at the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and a senior diplomat at the United Nations. Earlier in his career, he worked in the Irish Government as Principal Advisor to the Energy Minister, and was the Deputy CEO of the Irish National Energy Agency. He was also the European Union’s lead negotiator on low-carbon technology at the United Nations climate negotiations


Sharon E. Burke

The Hon. Sharon E. Burke is the Founder and President of Ecospherics. Throughout her career, she has worked to balance national security and environmental sustainability, with a focus on ideas that scale through public policy. Burke has been a leader at several civic organizations, including the Center for a New American Security, where she initiated a Natural Security program, Amnesty International USA, and New America. She has also served in the U.S. government in Congress, the State Department, and the Pentagon, most recently as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy. During the Biden-Harris presidential transition, she was on the Defense Agency Review and National Security and Foreign Policy teams. A native of Los Angeles and educated at Williams College and Columbia University, Burke is a frequent public speaker, published writer, and strategic advisor to corporate boards, national laboratories, and U.S. government agencies.


Zongyuan Zoe Liu

Zongyuan Zoe Liu is Maurice R. Greenberg Fellow for China Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Her work focuses on international political economy, global financial markets, sovereign wealth funds, supply chains of critical minerals, development finance, emerging markets, and energy and climate policy. Dr. Liu’s regional expertise is in East Asia, specifically China and Japan, and the Middle East, specifically Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Dr. Liu is the author of Can BRICS De-dollarize the Global Financial System? (Cambridge University Press, February 2022) and Sovereign Funds: How the Communist Party of China Finances its Global Ambitions (Harvard University Press, June 2023). She is also a columnist at Foreign Policy.

Prior to joining CFR, Dr. Liu was an assistant professor at Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government and Public Service in Washington, DC, where she taught courses on the global economy, economic statecraft, and Chinese foreign policy. She joined the Bush School after post-doctoral fellowships at the Columbia-Harvard “China and the World Program” and the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy at the Fletcher School at Tufts University.

Dr. Liu was a research fellow at the Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies and a research associate at the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business. She was also a visiting research fellow at the Institute for International Monetary Affairs in Tokyo, Bank of Mitsubishi-UFJ, and the Delma Institute in Abu Dhabi. She taught courses on Asian energy security and political risk analysis at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Liu received her PhD in international relations from Johns Hopkins University and she is also a CFA charterholder.



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