Come back zinc, Come Back!!
Subject: General Tech | July 2, 2008 - 09:07 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
The dire warning we heard on The Simpsons may soon come true, if the story on Slashdot is correct. For some strange reasons the rare earth elements used in many processes today are in short supply. You may not have heard much about hafnium, gallium or indium but they are present in trace amounts in almost all of your electronics, and they are necessary for current technology. If there are no replacements, substitutes or large undiscovered deposits that can be reached, peak oil may be the least of your worries.
"While we bemoan the current oil crisis, I ran across an editorial that led me to research a more immediate threat. Ramped-up
production of flat-panel displays means the material to make them will be 'extinct' by 2017. This goes for other electronics as
well. Quoting: 'The element gallium is in very short supply and the world may well run out of it in just a few years. Indium is
threatened too, says Armin Reller, a materials chemist at Germany's University of Augsburg. He estimates that our planet's
stock of indium will last no more than another decade. All the hafnium will be gone by 2017 also, and another twenty years will
see the extinction of zinc. Even copper is an endangered item, since worldwide demand for it is likely to exceed available
supplies by the end of the present century.' More links at the journal entry."
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