Global stocks of selected mineral-based commodities

Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5152
By: , and 



The U.S. Geological Survey, National Minerals Information Center, analyzes mineral and metal supply chains by identifying and describing major components of mineral and material flows from ore extraction, through intermediate forms, to a final product. This report focuses on an important component of the world’s supply chain: the amounts and global distribution of major consumer, producer, and exchange stocks of selected mineral commodities. In this report, the term “stock” is used instead of “inventory” and refers to accumulations of mined ore, intermediate products, and refined mineral-based commodities that are in a form that meets the agreed-upon specifications of a buyer or processor of intermediate products. These may include certain ores such as bauxite, concentrates, smelter products, and refined metals. Materials sometimes referred to as inventory for accounting purposes, such as ore contained in a deposit or in a leach pile, or materials that need to be further processed before they can be shipped to a consumer, are not considered. Stocks may be held (owned) by consumers, governments, investors, producers, and traders. They may serve as (1) a means to achieve economic, social, and strategic goals through government policies; (2) a secure source of supply to meet demand and to mitigate potential shortages in the supply chain; (3) a hedge to mitigate price volatility; and (4) vehicles for speculative investment.

The paucity and uneven reliability of data for stocks of ores and concentrates and for material held by producers, consumers, and merchants hinder the accurate estimating of the size and distribution of this portion of the supply chain for certain commodities. This paper reviews the more visible stocks held in commodity exchange warehouses distributed throughout the world.

Suggested Citation

Wilburn, D.R., Bleiwas, D.I., and Karl, N.A., 2016, Global stocks of selected mineral-based commodities: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5152, 13 p.,

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Metal Exchange Stocks 
  • Strategic Stockpiles 
  • Producer, Consumer, and Merchant Stocks
  • Unregistered and Bonded Warehouses
  • References Cited
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Global stocks of selected mineral-based commodities
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2016-5152
DOI 10.3133/sir20165152
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) National Minerals Information Center
Description Report: iv, 13 p.; Tables 2-10
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details