PhD thesis – Sustainable metal extraction, steady-state good production and cooperative wealth allocation among nations and generations : a transdisciplinary approach

Thesis defended by Fatma Zahra Rostom, University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, November 29, 2019.

This dissertation offers a transdisciplinary modeling approach to feed the debates raised by the long-run availability of mineral materials. It investigates the plausibility of a depletion threat posed to key metal resources within the current century. The first chapter studies the supply and demand of fossil materials at a global scale and further focuses on the functioning of the copper mining sector. Our work provides conditions under which the extraction of copper can be sustained and lead to a plateau instead of a peak, among which the stabilization of the demand for copper and the significant increase in collecting and recycling rates. The second chapter embeds the extracting sector into the whole global economy and evaluates theoretically the consequences of the mining dynamics on the long-run growth of output. We demonstrate that the unique desirable long-run steady state is stationary. The third chapter explores the implications of natural resource scarcity in terms of global trade and international cooperation. We show that if the countries of a coalition follow a long-term cooperation strategy in terms of extraction, investment, and resource trade, then the best way to optimize their own consumption while caring about future generations is to form a global coalition. This dissertation proposes a new way of considering global trade in the setting of an exhaustible resource and demonstrates that a global coalition where natural and productive wealth is commonly shared is to the advantage of all countries.


Thesis Director: Gaël Giraud and Olivier Vidal (CNRS, ISTerre, University Grenoble Alpes)

Fatma Zahra Rostom was associated with the Chair throughout the duration of her thesis. See her other articles :