Friday, April 10, 2009

Industries, countries scrap over scarce high-tech metals

I don't know if the word scarce is appropriate, the question is one of price. There are some bottlenecks where one metal is mined as a byproduct of another, primary target, as is the case for cobalt, which while sometimes found by itself is usually produced as a result of nickel or copper mining. Raise the price of cobalt enough and copper would become the byproduct.
From TerraDaily:
As demand booms for ever dwindling stockpiles of rare metals used in high-tech appliances, industries and countries are scrambling to secure their supplies, according to German research.

Indium, germanium, scandium, gallium may not be household names ... yet, but they are vital components in the flat-screen displays, mobile phones and solar panels being snapped up by technology-hungry consumers.

Demand for these metals is set to explode over the next two decades, according to a recent report from Germany's IZT and Fraunhofer institutes for the economy ministry.

Gallium -- vital for LED displays as well as flat-screen technology-- is set to see demand rise more than six-fold from current production levels by 2030, the report says.

Meanwhile, demand for neodymium, used in magnetic technology, will be nearly four times more than currently produced, according to the researchers....MORE