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Shortage of raw materials

 

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Specialist advice

 

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Glossary

 

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List of References

 

A list of the sources used for the critical raw materials can be found here. more

 

Quick overview

 

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No Niobium – No Modern Cruises.

 

The rare metal, niobium, is used to make special steel that is particularly strong. If reserves run out, as predicted, in less than 49 years’ time, then this will not only have fatal effects on ship building. Availability could become a problem even before 2056: 92 % of the total volume mined comes from one single country. REMONDIS is developing recycling methods to ensure such supply bottlenecks need never happen. The highest levels of quality, worldwide. For a secure future.German Qualität.

The availability of niobium has been classified as particularly critical.

No Tantalum – No Mobiles.

 

Mobile phones are a part of our everyday life. It is very hard to imagine just one day without mobiles – let alone the whole future. And yet such a situation is not so far off: these marvels of technology need tantalum, just one of many rare materials, and natural reserves of this element are expected to last for another 93 years. And yet the rapid developments in the electronics industry mean that the demand for this material is also increasing all the time. REMONDIS develops processes with which this important raw material can be returned to the production cycle. The highest levels of quality, worldwide. For a secure future. German Qualität.

72.5 % of tantalum, which the IW has classified as particularly critical, is produced in just three countries.

No Gold – No Televisions.

 

Gold is not only found in jewellery cases and safes but also in many other everyday appliances – in gold-coated electrical fittings and very fine gold wire or in modern televisions. This precious metal, however, will not be able to be mined for much longer – reserves are expected to last around another 19 years. REMONDIS recovers gold. The highest levels of quality, worldwide. For a secure future. German Qualität.

Huge volumes of stone must be moved to get a single troy ounce of gold – the craters can even be seen from space.

No Indium – No Computer Screens.

 

Modern screens are not possible without indium and many other future technologies also need this high-tech material. And yet at the current rate of consumption, the economically viable reserves will have run out in 17 years’ time. New ideas are needed to guarantee stable future supplies. REMONDIS is researching indium recycling methods. The highest levels of quality, worldwide. For a secure future. German Qualität.

Rapidly increasing prices and decreasing reserves ensure that indium has become one of the world’s rarest and most valuable raw materials.

No Copper – No Cars.

 

Copper, with its high conductivity, corrosion resistance and good formability, is the optimal material for the automobile industry. And yet copper is becoming scarce: natural reserves will have run out in about three decades’ time. The solution lies in the metal itself: copper can be recycled, again and again, without quality loss. REMONDIS has been returning large volumes of this raw material to production cycles for many years now. The highest levels of quality, worldwide. For a secure future. German Qualität.

People have been using copper for over 10,000 years. But this natural raw material will soon be history – natural reserves have almost run out.

No Gallium – No Satellites.

 

Satellites make our lives safer. Besides TV programmes, they transmit important data for weather warnings or for marine navigation. The energy needed for this is provided by solar technology using gallium. By 2030, demand for this raw material – for future technologies alone – will be six times higher than total production needs today. REMONDIS is acting now and developing recycling methods. The highest levels of quality, worldwide. For a secure future. German Qualität.

Supply problems can be expected due to the economic importance of gallium and the predicted rapid increase in demand for the material.

No Cobalt – No Artificial Joints.

 

Cobalt is not only used in batteries and magnets but also in medicine: used as an alloy for artificial joints, it maintains people’s mobility and joie de vivre – reliably and for many years. Forecasts on its availability, though, are not so good, for this natural raw material has been classified as critical even though reserves should last for another 100 years. Recycling is essential to safeguard supplies for medical treatment. REMONDIS is researching possible methods. The highest levels of quality, worldwide. For a secure future. German Qualität.

Predestined for implants: cobalt is wear-resistant and well tolerated by human tissue.

No Titanium – No Modern Aviation.

 

Be it to go on holiday or a business trip – planes are essential for many people. So titanium is, too, as it provides stability for the undercarriage, engines, fuselage and wings. The world would be a much smaller place without it. But, natural reserves of this material are finite and are expected to last another 136 years. REMONDIS is thinking ahead and developing processes to return titanium to production cycles. The highest levels of quality, worldwide. For a secure future. German Qualität.

Titanium has a wide variety of uses but natural reserves of this all-round talent are finite.

No Water – No Life.

 

Water makes up more than two-thirds of the surface of our blue planet. But only about one percent is fresh water that can be used directly by humans. Drinking water, though, is becoming ever more important as the world’s population continues to grow. REMONDIS provides professional water management services to ensure there is continued access to this vital commodity. The highest levels of quality, worldwide. For a secure future. German Qualität.

4 billion people will be living in countries suffering from serious water shortages in 2025.

 

No Zircon – No Brilliant Smiles.

 

Dental prostheses must be functional and aesthetic. With its natural look, biocompatibility and durability, zircon meets these requirements better than any other material – so demand is correspondingly high. The availability of this mineral has been classified as particularly critical; reserves are expected to run out in ca. 44 years. REMONDIS is developing solutions to recover this ‘white gold’. The highest levels of quality, worldwide. For a secure future. German Qualität.

Right at the top of the risk rating: supplies of zircon are classified as very critical as reserves are running out and production is limited to just a few countries.

 

No Chromium – No Sparkle.

 

Cutlery and many other kitchen and bath utensils should have a glossy finish for many years. Chromium is used to ensure this is the case – and there is no other alternative as this silvery-white metal cannot be substituted in the area of metallurgy. And yet, at today's rate of consumption, the economically viable reserves will have been used up in just 13 years. REMONDIS recovers this metal. The highest levels of quality, worldwide. For a secure future. German Qualität.

Chromium supply has been classified as being particularly critical; for the most part, it is mined in just three countries.

No Crude Oil – No Modern Conveniences.

 

Crude oil is a highly sought-after raw material and has a great variety of uses – for producing energy and fuels and as a base material for plastic products. Conventional oil reserves, however, have a static lifetime of only 38 years. REMONDIS, therefore, processes used plastics and returns them to the production cycle, thus saving considerable amounts of crude oil. The highest levels of quality, worldwide. For a secure future. German Qualität.

Oil supply problems can be expected in the near future.

No Lithium – No Mobile Workplaces.

 

Whether it is a laptop or a mobile phone – mobile electronic appliances have become everyday objects. And yet lithium is found in the batteries of these technical marvels. And four countries dominate the mining of this light metal. This could lead to supply problems and price increases and explains why it has been classified as critical despite it having a static lifetime of almost 550 years. REMONDIS is working on closing the life cycle of this metal. The highest levels of quality, worldwide. For a secure future. German Qualität.

A vital metal: few technical achievements are as popular as our mobile appliances.

No Platinum – No Pacemakers.

 

Platinum is rare, expensive and highly sought-after. And it can save people's lives, for, being a biocompatible material, it is particularly well tolerated by the human body and its organs. Supplies of the material, however, have been classified as particularly critical due to its geographical concentration. REMONDIS recycles industrial products and jewellery and recovers top quality platinum. The highest levels of quality, worldwide. For a secure future. German Qualität.

There could be supply problems before 2199 as the metal is primarily mined in just two countries – South Africa and Russia.

No Rare Earths – No Wind Power.

 

One of the rare earths is neodymium – an element that is used to produce, among others, high performance magnets for wind turbines. By 2030, demand for the material for future technologies alone will be almost four times higher than today's production rate. Moreover, it is practically impossible to substitute and mining activities are limited to just a few regions, which could lead to supply problems. REMONDIS is researching ways to recycle neodymium. The highest levels of quality, worldwide. For a secure future. German Qualität.

Neodymium, classified as being very critical, is mined almost exclusively in China. And the country already charges export duties on rare earths.

No Tungsten – No Carbide.

 

Whether it be a drill head or saw blade, in industrial businesses or in private homes: tools made from carbide are often an essential prerequisite for success. Tungsten, a shiny white heavy metal is used to produce such tools. As the economically viable reserves will have run out by 2057, REMONDIS is developing processes to recycle tungsten. The highest levels of quality, worldwide. For a secure future. German Qualität.

A sensitive supply chain: more than 80% of the tungsten used today is mined in one single country.

 

 

 

Background

 

Significance

Niobium is used in many areas due to its specific properties and is predominantly used, from point of view of quantity, for strengthening steel (ISI 2009). Up to 95% of niobium is used in the steel industry. Other areas of significance are: the electrical and electronics industry for products such as ceramic capacitors (niobium oxide), capacitors (niobium powder) and low-pressure sodium lamps (zirconium steels) as well as electro-optic und piezoelectric systems (ISI 2009). Niobium is found primarily in nature as pyrochlore or niobite (mixed crystal with iron, tantalum and manganese) (ISI 2009). A further ore containing niobium and tantalum elements is coltan (columbite-tantalite ore) (ISI 2009). Niobium has a very high melting point (2,468°C), is resistant to all acids except hydrofluoric acid and is only affected by alkali fusions (ISI 2009). It is air-stable and corrosion resistant, also at high temperature; furthermore it has very good electrical and thermal conductivity (ISI 2009).

 

 

 

Availability/Supply

In 2009, annual niobium production amounted to around 62,000 tonnes with reserves of approx. 2.9 million tonnes. This means is has a static lifetime of 47 years (USGS 2010). Global resources have been estimated to be just below 460 million tonnes (USGS 2010). A look at the producing countries clearly shows that Brazil is practically the only supply country for niobium with a share of a good 92%. Canada supplies around 7% of niobium requirements (USGS 2010). The situation is similar for the producing companies: the three most important firms produce practically all supplies of niobium. Niobium has been classified as being particularly critical in a report published by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW Köln) as both the supply countries and companies practically have a monopoly position. The actual availability of the raw material as far as the reserves and resources are concerned is less critical.

 

 

 

Substitution & Recycling

Whilst niobium can be substituted in the various applications, such substitutions involve in part high costs and/or a loss in performance (EC 2010, ISI 2009). Potential alternatives include molybdenum and vanadium for steels, tantalum in capacitors as well as ceramics, molybdenum, tantalum and tungsten in high-temperature applications (ISI 2009). The rate of recycling for niobium has been put at 11% (EC 2010).

 

The general availability of niobium is not so critical. The supply of the material has, however, been classified as particularly critical because of the high regional and corporate concentration. The predominant area of application for niobium is the steel industry where it is primarily used to strengthen steel as well as in alloys; niobium can, in principle, be substituted and recycled.


 

Significance

Tantalum is used in very different fields because of its specific properties, for the most part however in the electrical and electronics industry (60%). Tantalum is used here primarily as a capacitor for vehicles, PCs, GPS systems, digital cameras, mobile phones and very small electronic appliances (ISI 2009). A further important application is its use as carbide in steel processing (cutting tools) which makes up a good 16% (EC 2010). Approx. 14% is used in the aviation and automobile sectors. Furthermore, tantalum is used for high-temperature applications and corrosion resistant equipment in the chemicals industry (ISI 2009). Tantalum is found in nature as, above all, tantalite or as microlite and wodginite. As is the case with niobium, it is also contained in coltan (ISI 2009). Tantalum has a very high melting point (2,996°C) and is hard but ductile and malleable. It is resistant to all acids except hydrofluoric acid and alkalis, is corrosion resistant and has very good electrical and thermal conductivity (ISI 2009).

 

 

 

Availability/Supply

Mine production in 2009 lay at just under 1,160 tonnes; reserves amounted to around 110,000 tonnes. This gives it a static lifetime of 95 years (USGS 2010). Available resources are primarily located in Australia and Brazil; more detailed data has not been provided (USGS 2010). The high regional concentration of tantalum reserves in Australia (48%) and Brazil (16%) and the previously high corporate concentration were the main reasons behind tantalum being classified as a par-ticularly critical raw material (IW 2008). The financial collapse of the Australian company, Sons of Gwalia, may possibly lead to a shift in the corporate concentration.

 

According to literary references, the demand for tantalum in 2030 for electronic appliances alone will have increased to the level of mine production today (ISI 2009).

 

 

 

Substitution & Recycling

According to an EU report, tantalum can, in principle, be substituted. The substitutes, however, may not necessarily achieve the same properties as tantalum (EC 2010). An example of the substitutes named is niobium in carbides and capacitors. It should be noted here, however, that supplies of the alternative, niobium, have also been classified as particularly critical (see Niobium 'Availability/Supply'). The rate of recycling has been put at 20 – 25% and by another source at approx. 4% (ISI 2009, EC 2010). It is, in principle, able to be recycled.

 

Due to its specific properties, tantalum is a valuable raw material with a high regional concentration of reserves in Australia and Brazil. There will be a clear increase in its use in the future. As it can, in some cases, only be substituted with raw materials that are scarce themselves, the supply situation may become critical.


 

Significance

Over the last few years, there has been a considerable increase in the price of the precious metal, gold, (24% increase from 2008 to 2009) (USGS 2010). Gold is primarily used to produce jewellery, in the electronics industry, as a means of payment as well as in dental technology (BGR 2007).

 

 

 

Substitution & Recycling
Global gold mine production in 2009 amounted to 2,350 tonnes. Looking at the current reserves of 47,000 tonnes, gold has a static lifetime of 20 years. Availability of gold has been classified as non-critical due to its high recyclability. For example, 190 tonnes of gold was recovered from old and new scrap in the USA in 2009. This is greater than the consumption requirements accounted for in the USA (USGS 2010).

 

If the conditions are right, then ore containing just 0.24 grams of gold per tonne is considered to be mineable. This is the equivalent of around 130 tonnes per ounce. The ore found in the most important mines has an average gold content of 3 grams per tonne (approx. 10 tonnes per ounce) (Pohl 2005).

 

 

 

Substitution & Recycling

Non-precious metals are often used as the base material for producing electrical and electronic products and jewellery which are then alloyed with gold. Many of these products are being con-tinuously further developed in order to reduce the gold content required whilst maintaining user value. Generally speaking, gold can be substituted with palladium, platinum and silver (USGS 2010). The recyclability of gold is high. Applications, which are still relatively new, will provide a new potential for recycling in the future. The increase in the number of LCD televisions purchased, for example, will mean that over the coming decades there will be millions of LCD TVs discarded by households. Gold is one of the valuable contents found in LCDs for materials recycling (ISI 2009).

 

Significance

Indium is a soft, silvery white heavy metal and can be used with most other metals to make alloys thus generally increasing the strength and corrosion resistance of the alloy system. Indium tin oxide (ITO) is both transparent and electrically conductive making it an essential material for display applications (EC 2010). Besides being used for thin film coating and in alloys and solder, indium is also used in semiconductors, electronic components as well as in research and development (ISI 2009). Indium will also be very important for display applications in the future and demand for this material will increase. Other areas of application, which will become increasingly important, include thin-film photovoltaics and white LEDs (ISI 2009).

 

 

 

Availability/Supply

Mine production in 2009 lay at 600 t/a. As there was no data available regarding the reserves for 2009, it is not possible to calculate the current static lifetime of indium. If the data on reserves and mine production for 2007 are taken as the basis, then it has a static lifetime of 21 years (USGS 2010, USGS 2008). As indium is obtained almost exclusively as a by-product of zinc and lead production, the availability of indium depends very much on the mining of these raw materials. There are risks regarding availability because of the growing demand for indium and the trade restrictions imposed by the main supply country, China (ISI 2009, EC 2010).

 

 

 

Substitution & Recycling

Highly volatile prices and the concerns regarding the continued availability of indium have resulted in greater efforts being made to find substitutes for this material. It is proving very difficult to find substitutes for use in displays. First attempts have been made to use antimony tin oxide as a substitute. Antimony is, however, controversial because of its toxicity and carcinogenicity (UBA 2009). Carbon nanotubes are also being looked at as an alternative for ITO in displays, solar cells and touch screens. Other examples are poly (3.4-ethylene dioxythiophene) as an ITO substitute in displays and light emitting diodes as well as graphene quantum dots as an ITO substitute in solar cells and LCDs. Gallium arsenide is used in solar cells and semiconductor applications instead of indium phosphide. Hafnium can be used in place of indium in alloys for control elements of a nuclear reactor (USGS 2010). Indium is primarily recovered by recycling residue from sputtering (cathode sputtering).

 

Supply risks exist because indium is difficult to substitute in its main area of use (LCDs) and demand for it can be expected to rise.

 

Significance

The use of copper around the world is very different. There are, in principle, four main areas of use: the production of electrical and electronic products, transport, buildings as well as engineering. Furthermore, copper forms the starting point for all future electrical and electronic technologies (ISI 2009). This soft and malleable metal does not corrode when exposed to air (forms a protective oxide layer) and is only affected by oxidizing acids (ISI 2009). Copper can be further processed into many different forms such as sheets, films and wires. Its most important properties are its electrical conductivity, its thermal conductivity as well as its ability to be alloyed with many other metals (ISI 2009).

 

According to a study published by the European Union, approx. 13 to 14% of copper consumption is used to manufacture automobiles (EC 2010). According to literary references, modern automobiles contain around 2% copper; the need for conducting materials will, however, continue to rise (Hoock 2008).

 

 

 

Availability/Supply

The annual global production of copper currently lies at approx. 16 million tonnes with estimated global copper reserves of 540 million tonnes (USGS 2010). This means it has a static lifetime of 35 years. The amount of copper resources, which cannot be economically mined at the moment, have been estimated to be approx. 3,000 million tonnes, which would mean that, at the current rate of consumption, the resources would be sufficient for another good 188 years. The main export country is Chile with a share of approx. 34% of global production. Other important countries are Peru (8%), USA (7.5%), China (6%) and Indonesia (6%) (USGS 2010). If the three most important supply countries are put together then they have a share of approx. 50% of global production. The three most important producing companies have together an overall share of a good 28% (BGR 2007).

 

 

 

Substitution & Recycling

The almost unique properties of copper make it difficult to substitute, primarily due to its electrical conductivity (EC 2010, ISI 2009). Copper is easy to recycle; the rates of recycling given, however, differ between 20 and 47% (EC 2010). The rate of recycling achieved in Germany (54%) shows that there is still great potential in this area (BGR 2007).

 

Copper is difficult to substitute because of its wide use and its specific properties (very good conductivity). One positive aspect is that copper is not difficult to recycle so that it can be recovered from secondary raw materials. The immediate availability of copper as far as the existing reserves and resources are concerned is less critical. However, approx. 50% of global production is carried out by just three countries: Chile, Peru and the USA.


 

Significance

Gallium is a silvery white metal. It is primarily used to produce gallium compounds such as gallium arsenide, gallium nitride, gallium phosphide and gallium antimonide. These compounds in turn are used to manufacture light emitting diodes, transistors and laser diodes. According to forecasts, the demand for gallium will increase enormously for thin-film photovoltaics and microchips as well as for the area of white LEDs and other future technologies.

 

 

 

Availability/Supply

There is no firm data about the production and reserves of gallium. Essentially this can be put down to the small number of gallium producers which treat their production data as strictly confidential (ISI 2009). In 2009, mine production lay at 78 tonnes. Gallium is obtained as a by-product from bauxite as part of the aluminium production process as well as in small amounts from processing zinc. Global bauxite reserves are so large that they will not be mined over the next few decades. For this reason, the gallium in the bauxite reserves will not be available in the short term (USGS 2010).

 

 

 

Substitution & Recycling

An effective substitution for gallium arsenide is not possible in some areas of application involving integrated circuits. Liquid crystals can be used in displays instead of LEDs. Indium phosphide or helium-neon can replace gallium arsenide in laser diodes. Silicon is the main competitor with gallium for solar cells. There is effectively no old scrap at the moment so that recycling processes will not grow in significance until there is an increase in the use of gallium in the future. Recycling is being carried out on production residue. There are risks regarding the availability of gallium because of its economic significance and, in particular, because of the expected rise in demand for this material.

 

Significance

Cobalt, a transition metal, is ferromagnetic and very hard. It maintains both its stability and its magnetic properties at high temperatures and has a relatively low thermal and electrical conduc-tivity. At the moment it is used above all in batteries (27%), superalloys and magnetic applications (26%) (EC 2010). Future demand (ISI 2009) is likely, in particular, to come from use in lithium ion batteries as well as new areas of application for superalloys (e.g. hard-wearing cobalt-chromium-molybdenum alloys in orthopaedic implants, superalloys, which are resistant to high temperatures, for the aviation industry). Cobalt will continue to be used in the hard metal industry as a binding agent for carbides, in pigments and catalytic converters (EC 2010). The use of cobalt in catalytic converters for the production of synthetic fuels will also increase in the future (ISI 2009).

 

 

 

Availability/Supply

The static lifetime of this metal is currently put at 107 years (USGS 2010). 40.5% of the production comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Supply risks exist in principle because of the political instability in the main producing country as well as the expected increase in demand as a result of future technologies (ISI 2009).

 

 

 

Substitution & Recycling

It is practically impossible to substitute cobalt in many applications without reducing the performance of the product. Efforts are being made to enable it to be substituted because of the volatile prices. This is especially the case for magnetic applications as well as increasingly for the use of cobalt in batteries.

 

Cobalt is expensive and scarce which are good preconditions for recycling. Recycling is already being carried out on scrap metal, catalytic converters and batteries containing cobalt. Recovering cobalt from batteries is, however, both complex and expensive at the moment. The future rise in demand for cobalt will increase recycling capacity in this area, too (ISI 2009). Cobalt cannot be recovered from pigments, glass, paints and similar products as these involve dissipative applications (EC 2010).

 

Because of its unique properties, Cobalt is practically impossible to substitute without a loss in product performance. For this reason and because of the high economic importance of cobalt, this raw material has been classified as critical.

 

Significance

Titanium unites many interesting properties. It is very light and has special mechanical strength. Furthermore, it has a high melting point and low thermal expansion coefficients and is resistant to many substances (including acids and salt water). This means that titanium and titanium alloys are of great significance for many applications (EC 2010). Around 95% of the titanium produced worldwide is used as titanium dioxide (ISI 2009). This oxide is used, for example, in paints, plastics, paper and catalytic converters (EC 2010). Titanium metal is used in the aviation and space aviation industry, for plant construction work as well as in medical applications. It has been forecast that the demand for this metal will increase as new areas of application are discovered (protection against corrosion for seawater desalination plants, implants, miniaturized capacitors, dye solar cells, superalloys) (ISI 2009).

 

 

 

Availability/Supply

The static lifetime for this metal is 128 years with a mine production of 5.7 million tonnes and reserves of 730 million tonnes. Despite its high economic importance, the supply situation has not been classified as particularly critical as there is a sufficient number of producing countries spread across the world.

 

 

 

Substitution & Recycling

Titanium dioxide can be substituted in many applications (EC 2010). Substitution is also possible in seawater desalination plants. Titanium is, however, very difficult to substitute in high-tech products because of its excellent strength, corrosion resistance and light weight. Large amounts of titanium metal are being recycled.

 

Global water supplies and distribution of use

70% of the Earth's surface is covered in water. 97.5% of this, however, is salt water making it unsuitable for drinking or for irrigation. Of the remaining 2.5%, 68.7% is found as ice in glaciers and 0.8% in permafrost regions. This means, therefore, that non-frozen fresh water makes up just under 1% of global water supply (UN-WWDR 2006).

 

Across the world, 69% of water withdrawals is used for agriculture and 18% for industrial purposes. Only 13% is used by households. These figures do not take the volumes of rainwater which can be used directly, for example for irrigation, into account (Pacific Institute 2006).

 

 

 

Distribution of total global annual runoff

Water resources are unevenly distributed both as far as regions are concerned as well as time of the year. Latin America is the region with the most water with a 33% share of the total global annual runoff. Asia takes second place with 25% followed by the OECD countries with 20%. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 11% and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia for 10%. Water is limited the most in the Middle East and North Africa: only 1% of the global runoff flows through these regions (UN-WWDR 2009). The distribution within the regions themselves can also differ greatly.
Seasonal fluctuations are a further factor that can lead to water shortages – also even in areas which have a high annual runoff.
Besides the naturally uneven distribution, humans also have a considerable influence on the availability of water. The construction of the Ataturk Dam on the River Euphrates, for example, not only resulted in ecological and economic problems but also led to political disputes.

 

 

 

Global supply of drinking water

In 2008, 13% of the world's population (just under 900 million people) did not have secure access to drinking water. The share of the population affected in rural areas is higher than those living in cities – especially in developing countries (UN-MDG 2010). And there can also be big differences within just one city: whilst a person living in a slum only has access to between 5 and 10 litres of water a day, a household with an average to high income can consume between 50 and 150 litres of water a day or more (UN-WWDR 2006).

 

 

 

The UN's Millennium Development Goal

By 2015, the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water should have been halved (with respect to 1990). This is one of the United Nation's 'Millennium Development Goals'. Furthermore the number of people without access to a sanitation system should also be halved. Over the last few years, clear progress has been made in most of the world's regions as far as the supply of drinking water is concerned. The drinking water situation in Sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania, however, remains poor. In 2008, 50% of the population in Oceania and 40% of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa did not have sustainable access to safe drinking water. Around 50% of the population in the developing countries do not have basic sanitation (UN-MDG 2010) which is giving rise to considerable hygiene and health problems.

 

 

 

Securing drinking water supplies

Sustainable water management to secure drinking water supply and wastewater treatment is of utmost importance especially in view of the world's growing population. As 95% of population growth between 2002 and 2015 (6.2 to 7.2 billion inhabitants) is expected to take place in devel-oping countries (WHO/Unicef 2005), the demand for water supply and wastewater treatment will also rise.

 

The increased withdrawal of water from rivers, lakes and groundwater can also lead to a degra-dation of whole ecosystems. Rivers and lakes dry up, groundwater levels fall. A further major problem is, besides the fact that too much water is withdrawn from such sources, water pollution caused by humans. Faecal matter, chemicals, nutrients and heavy metals in water cause damage to both humans and the environment (UNWWDR 2009).

 

 

 

Severe water shortages predicted for 2025

There is considerable uncertainty regarding the predictions concerning the number of people who will affected by water shortages in 2025. Not only population growth may influence water consumption but also technical developments. Thus, for example, water loss from agricultural irrigation can be prevented by using improved irrigation systems. Water can be used far more intensively in industrialized countries thanks to the wastewater treatment systems used there and the recovery and re-use of industrial wastewater. This is clearly different to the situation in the developing countries where there are often no (or not enough) sewage treatment plants (Alcamo 2000).

 

As it can be expected that population numbers will increase in the coming years in those areas where many people already do not have sufficient drinking water, then the already serious water shortages will become worse.

Significance

Zircon is the most important naturally occurring mineral of the element zirconium and is used, above all, as a glaze in the ceramics industry and for special ceramics (52.4%). Furthermore, zirconium is used in the refractory (15%) and foundry industries (15%) as well as in the metallic form, zirconium/hafnium, to produce control rods in the nuclear industry and as a chemical (8.2%) (BGR 2007).

 

Availability/Supply

Zirconium mine production in 2009 amounted to around 1.23 million tonnes; reserves have been put at just under 56 million tonnes (USGS 2010). This gives zirconium a static lifetime of 46 years with resources amounting to 60 million tonnes (USGS 2010). A look at the producing countries shows that Australia has a share of approx. 42%, South Africa approx. 32% and China approx. 12%. This means that just under 86% of global production is carried out by three countries and corporate concentration has been put at approx. 62% (USGS 2010, IW 2008).

 

For this reason, the supply of the raw material zircon has been classified as particularly critical (IW 2008). Problems have been caused by the fact that demand has exceeded supply as a result of the 'China effect' (BGR 2007).

 

Substitution & Recycling

Whilst it is possible to substitute zircon with many minerals, such minerals often have inferior properties (BRG 2007). Zircon is not, however, considered to be substitutable in the area of special ceramics and in the use of its metallic form as zirconium/hafnium for nuclear reactors (BGR 2007).

 

The high demand for zircon and the fact that it cannot be substituted in certain applications has meant that the supply of this raw material has been classified as particularly critical. Furthermore, the great regional concentration of zircon resources many also have an adverse effect. The static lifetime of zirconium has been put at approx. 45 years but this figure could be doubled if the esti-mated resources were to be mined at a constant rate of production.

 

Significance

Approx. 93% of chromite mined across the world is used in metallurgy (ISI 2009). Compared to its use as an alloying component, the other applications – such as in the chemicals industry or in refractory materials – play only a minor role. Chromium is a silvery white, corrosion-resistant, malleable yet hard, paramagnetic metal with a high melting point (approx. 1,907°C). Metallic chromium and trivalent chromium compounds, for example the naturally occurring chromite ore, present no risk to health (ISI 2009). By contrast, hexavalent chromium compounds (CrVI) are poisonous, carcinogenic and mutagenic. They are primarily used to impart corrosion resistance and as a primary product for numerous chromium compoundst (ISI 2009).

 

Availability/Supply

Approx. 23 million tonnes of chromium are currently being mined each year with chromium reserves amounting to around 350 million tonnes (USGS 2010). This means that it has a static lifetime of 15 years. Based on the volume of reserves, chromium is a relatively scarce raw material; however, chromium resources are estimated to be a good 12,000 million tonnes. If mining levels remain at a constant level, then the static lifetime of the resources is over 520 years. About 74% of chromium mine production is carried out in three countries: South Africa produces the highest volumes (just under 42%), followed by India (17%) and Kazakhstan (16%) (USGS 2010). Looking at the producing companies, however, the concentration rate is not so extreme with the three largest producers together mining just under 45%.

 

Substitution & Recycling

Chromium cannot be substituted in the area of metallurgy (stainless steel) (EC 2010).By contrast, however, inorganic chromium compounds are being substituted more and more because of the health hazards they pose (EC 2010). Chromium recycling is of economic interest and there is a demand for steel and iron scrap containing chromium. There is no information available on the recycling of chromium in non-metallic applications (ISI 2009). Such applications, however, play only a minor role. Chromium recycling currently lies at approx. 13% (EC 2010).

 

Chromium cannot be substituted in its main areas of use in metallurgy; recycling chromium is, however, economically viable. According to an IW report, the supply of chromium has been clas-sified as being particularly critical due to the fact that 74% of global supplies are mined by the three largest producing countries (IW 2008).

 

Significance

Crude oil is a highly complex mixture of hydrocarbons and other organic compounds. Furthermore, it contains the elements: sulphur, oxygen, nitrogen, vanadium and nickel. Refineries primarily process oil into fuels such as heating oil. At the same time, crude oil is by far the most important raw material for organic chemical products (VCI 2010a). Crude oil plays only a minor role in the production of electricity.

 

Availability/Supply

Looking at conventional reserves, crude oil currently has a static lifetime of 41 years; if conventional resources are taken into account, the supplies should last for another 64 years (BGR 2009b). Oil sands, from which oil is currently already being extracted, and oil shale could cover demand for 93 years. They will, however, probably play only a limited role because of the high costs and foreseeable environmental problems involved (BGR 2009b, Peuker 2010). In contrast to natural gas, approx. only 3.2% of the crude oil consumed in Germany each year comes from domestic sources. It is, above all, imported from Russia (32%), Norway, Great Britain and the former CIS states. At the moment, only 6% comes from the Middle East (BGR 2009a). From a geological point of view, there is likely to be a supply gap for crude oil in the near future. The volume and regional distribution of the remaining reserves indicate that the importance of the role of the Gulf States as far as global oil supplies are concerned will once again increase significantly (BGR 2009b).

 

Substitution & Recycling

As far as heating buildings is concerned, crude oil can, for example, be substituted through energy-saving building methods, bioenergy or by geothermal heat. Waste (already being used to a certain extent) and combustible fractions in landfills can be used to generate district heat. It is, however, more difficult to substitute liquid fuels. The technically proven method of coal liquefaction consumes a much higher amount of primary energy and leads to higher CO2 emissions. The potential of biofuels is limited because of, for example, the competition with food producers for crop growing space. Moreover, using biomass in other ways could be far more beneficial for the climate (SRU 2007). Discussions are currently taking place about radically changing the private transport system and introducing electric powered vehicles. In the future, heavy oils, oil sands and oil shale or natural gas will be used more and more in chemical syntheses (VCI 2010a). As these raw materials are finite, too, and their use contributes towards the greenhouse effect, sources of regenerative carbons will also be necessary. This may, in the future, be the main area of use for biomass. The materials recycling of chemical products can also reduce the need for raw materials. In some cases, however, thermal recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions more than materials recycling so that a differentiated ecological assessment should be made for each case (ATZ 2009).

 

Significance

Lithium is primarily used to produce and/or process ceramics and glass. A further, very important segment is the use of lithium in batteries (EC 2010). Moreover, lithium is used as a fluxing agent in aluminium mills or lubricating grease and oil. Lithium is an alkali metal and, being a light metal, has the lowest density under standard conditions (EC 2010). The main use of lithium is expected to be, until 2050, in batteries for electric powered cars as well as for mobile electronic appliances such as laptops, mobile phones etc. (EC 2010).

 

Availability/Supply

In 2009, mine production lay at around 18,000 tonnes. Reserves have been put at just under 10 million tonnes giving it a static lifetime of 550 years (USGS 2010). Worldwide resources amount to approx. 23 million tonnes (USGS 2010). Lithium is primarily mined in Chile (41%), Argentina (25%), China and the USA (approx. 12.5% respectively). This means, that a good 91% of global lithium production is carried out by the above-mentioned countries. This is a very high concentration of countries which must be seen as being critical. According to literature, the three largest producing companies have – added together – a market share of a good 58% (BGR 2007).

 

Substitution & Recycling

In principle, lithium can be substituted in batteries and ceramic applications; the substitution coefficient, however, is very high at 0.8 (80%) (EC 2010). This means that substitution involves, to a certain extent, high costs and/or a loss in product performance (EC 2010). Alternative materials named include calcium, magnesium, mercury and zinc. The research data puts the recycling rate from scrap at 0%, although lithium batteries are recycled (EC 2010). According to European Union targets, the recycling rate of batteries from mobile electronic appliances should have increased to around 45% by 2016 (EC 2010).

Significance

The platinum group metals contain the six elements: platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, osmium and iridium (ISI 2009, EC 2010). For the most part, platinum and palladium were looked at here. Approx. 43% of platinum is used in catalytic converters in vehicles and around 34% is processed into jewellery (ISI 2009). Other areas of use (around 8%) are in chemicals and petrochemicals. Approx. 16% is used for all other areas of application (thermoelements, spark plug electrodes etc.). The majority of palladium, a good 51%, is used in catalytic converters in vehicles. Approx. 15% is used in electronics and the electronics industry and just under 14% in dental technology (ISI 2009). All platinum metals are very rare and expensive, chemically inert and, with the exception of iridium, are all used as a catalyst or additive catalysts (ISI 2009). The density of platinum (21.5 g/cm3) is twice that of palladium (ISI 2009). In contrast, the electrical conductivity of palladium (21.1·106 S/m) is twice that of platinum (9.7·106 S/m) – these values, however, are considerably lower than those of silver or copper (ISI 2009).

 

Availability/Supply

In 2009, worldwide production lay at 178 tonnes of platinum and 195 tonnes of palladium. Reserves of both elements have been put at a good 71,000 tonnes giving them a static lifetime of 190 years (USGS 2010). The resources have been estimated to be 100,000 tonnes. Supplies of platinum and palladium, however, have been classified as being particularly critical as mining activities are primarily carried out in South Africa (59%) and Russia (27%) (USGS 2010). The market share of the three largest companies amounts to just under 73% (IW 2008). Platinum and palladium supply, therefore, has both a high regional and corporate concentration.

 

Substitution & Recycling

Economically, platinum, palladium and rhodium are of great importance and are difficult or im-possible to substitute in many of their areas of use (ISI 2009). The IW Cologne has classified the platinum metal group as being unable to be substituted. According to a study published by the European Union, whilst substitution is possible it involves high costs and/or a loss in product performance (EC 2010). Recycling rates lie at just under 35%. The recycling of industrial catalysts is considered to be very efficient (EC 2010).

 

The supply of platinum and palladium is dominated by a very high regional and high corporate concentration. This could lead to restrictions in supply or sharp price increases. Platinum and palladium can only be substituted to a very limited extent, although platinum is a good material for recycling.

 

Significance

The lanthanides belong to the "rare earths", i.e. the elements in the periodic table that follow lan-thanum. In the commercial world, scandium, yttrium and lanthanum are also counted as rare earth metals (ISI 2009). Neodymium is the most important of the lanthanide elements. The "rare earths" are used for catalysts (20%), polished mirror and precision lenses (24%) and in the area of metallurgy (approx. 15% in total) as well as in the area of ceramics (5%) (ISI 2009).

 

Availability/Supply

In 2009, global mining production amounted to just under 124,000 tonnes, with reserves of approx. 99 million tonnes. This means that the "rare earths" have a static lifetime of almost 800 years (USGS 2010). Mining activities, however, are carried out almost exclusively in China (97%). There are no exact details available about corporate concentration. Furthermore, export duties have been charged in China for exporting "rare earths" since 2006 (EC 2010). The need for neodymium has been classified as very critical for the future, as demand will clearly exceed current supplies (ISI 2009).

 

Substitution & Recycling

The substitution of "rare earths" is only possible to a limited extent and involves a loss in product performance due to their specific properties (EC 2010). According to literature, recycling rates lie at a good 1%, which can be put down to the dissipative structure of use (EC 2010). Permanent magnets are most commonly recycled, in which neodymium is primarily used.

 

Future technologies will result in there being a considerable increase in demand for rare earth metals. As there are limits to their ability to be substituted and recycled, considerable supply risks may arise.

Significance

The main area of use of tungsten (a total of approx. 79%) is in the production of alloyed steels (tool steel) and superalloys. Other areas of use are finished products (17%) and tungsten alloys (4%) (EC 2010). In nature, tungsten can only be found in chemical compounds and not in its elementary form (EC 2010). Tungsten has robust physical properties and has the highest melting point of all unalloyed metals and the second-highest of all elements after carbon (EC 2010).

 

Availability/Supply

Annual global production amounted to just under 58,000 tonnes in 2009, with reserves of 2.8 million tonnes (USGS 2010). This gives it a static lifetime of 48 years. There are no actual figures available about potential resources but the resources are believed to be widely distributed around the world (USGS 2010). The concentration of supply is very great: China is by far the biggest producer with 81% followed by Russia (4%) and Canada (3.5%) whose role is far less significant (USGS 2010). This means that three countries own almost 90% of the global tungsten resources. As far as corporate concentration is concerned, Chinese firms have a market share of over 75%. China, therefore, almost has a monopoly. The supply of tungsten has been classified as being particularly critical (IW 2008).

 

Substitution & Recycling

In a study published by the European Union, tungsten is classed as being able to be substituted but substitution involves high costs and/or a loss in product performance (EC 2010). According to the EU, recycling rates of tungsten amount to 37%. The recycling of the material, however, is dependent on the economic conditions (EC 2010). In principle, though, it can be recycled.

 

 

 

 

Facts & Figures

 
Use (ISI 2009)
  • Steel industry (95%)

  • Electrical & electronics industry

  • Machinery & plant engineering

  • Aviation

  • Generation of energy

  • Chemicals industry

  • Medical technology

  • Optics industry

  • Research

Supply & Demand 2009 (USGS 2010)
Mine production Reserves Ressources Static Lifetime
0.062 million t/year 2.9 million t 460 million t 47 years
Supply Risks
Producing countries 2009 (USGS 2010) Producing companies (EC 2010)
  • Brazil (92 %)
  • Canada (7 %)
  • Others (1 %)
  • Top 3: 99 %
  • Moreira Salles Group 85 %
  • Anglo American plc. 8 %
  • Iamgold corp. 7 %
Trade barriers (EC 2010)
  • Russia: export duties (6.5 %)
  • South Africa: export is not automatically granted
IW-Classification
  • Particularly critical (IW 2008)
EU-Classification
Forecasts (ISI 2009)
Future technologies
  • Micro-electronic capacitors
Future development
  • In 2030, quantified use in future technologies will make up around 3% of primary production
  • Increasing demand for niobium
ISI/IZT indicator 2030:
  • 0.03
Substitutability (ISI 2009)
  • Substitutability Index: 0.7 (EC 2010)
  • Molybdenum and vanadium for steels
  • Tantalum in capacitors
  • Ceramics, molybdenum, tantalum and tungsten in high-temperature applications
  • Niobium can be substituted in different applications
  • Difficult to substitute (IW 2008)
Recycling
Recyclability
  • Rate of recycling: 11 % (EC 2010)
  • Recycling, above all, of niobium steels (ISI 2009)
Occurrence in anthropogenic sources
  • Railway tracks, tools, ships, buildings

Click on a hyperlinked term to read the corresponding explanation in the glossary.

Use (ISI 2009)
  • Electrical & electronics industry (60%)
  • Steel industry
  • Machine & plant engineering
  • Aviation
  • Generation of energy
  • Chemicals industry
  • Medical technology
  • Optics industry
Supply & Demand 2009 (USGS 2010)
Mine production Reserves Ressources Static Lifetime

1,160 t/year

110,000 t no data 95 years
Supply Risks
Producing countries 2009 (USGS 2010) Producing companies 2004* (BGR 2007)
  • Australia (48 %)
  • Brasil (16 %)
  • DR Congo (8.5 %)
  • Ruanda (8.5 %)
  • Canada (3.5 %)
  • Top 3: 72.5 %
  • Top 5: 84.5 %
  • Sons of Gwalia (Australien) 64.3 %
  • Cabot Corp. (USA) 4.1 %
* more recent data is not available; the most important producing company
(Sons of Gwalia) filed for bankruptcy in 2004 more
Trade barriers (EC 2010)
  • South Africa: export is not automatically granted
  • Tanzania: export ban on tantalum (old scrap / scrap)
IW-Classification
  • Particularly critical (IW 2008)
EU-Classification
Forecasts (ISI 2009)
Future technologies
  • Micro-electronic capacitors
Future development
  • By 2030, the requirements for micro-electronic capacitors will have increased to today's global mine production
  • May also be an increase in demand in the area of turbines and engineering (e.g. cutting tools)
ISI/IZT indicator 2030:
  • 1.01 (ISI 2009)
Substitutability (ISI 2009)
  • Substitutability Index: 0.4 (EC 2010)
  • Tantalum can in some cases be substituted but the substitutes do not achieve the same properties as tantalum
    • niobium in carbides
    • aluminium, ceramics, niobium in capacitors
    • niobium, platinum, titanium and zirconium in corrosion-resistant equipment
    • niobium, hafnium, iridium, molybdenum, rhenium, tungsten in high-temperature applications
Recycling
Recyclability
  • Rate of recycling: 20 – 25 % (ISI 2009) / 4 % (EC 2010)
  • Many applications lead to the dissipation of tantalum (ISI 2009)
Occurrence in anthropogenic sources
  • Old electronic appliances
Click on a hyperlinked term to read the corresponding explanation in the glossary.
Use (BGR 2007)
  • Jewellery
  • Electronics industry
  • Means of payment
  • Dental technology
 
Supply & Demand 2009 (USGS 2010)
Mine production Reserves Ressources Static Lifetime

2.350 t/year

47.000 t USA: 33.000 t
World: no data
20 years
Supply Risks
Producing countries 2009 (USGS 2010) Producing companies 2005 (BGR 2007)
  • China (13 %)
  • Australia (9 %)
  • USA (9 %)
  • South Africa (9 %)
  • Russia (8 %)
  • Top 3: 31%
  • Top 5: 48%
  • Newmont Mining (8.5 %)
  • Anglogold Ashanti (7.9 %)
  • Barrick Gold (6.9 %)
  • Gold Fields (5.7 %)
  • Placer Dome (4.9 %)
  • Top 3: 23.3 %
  • Top 5: 33.9 %

Sufficient number of producing companies and countries spread across the world

IW-Classification

Not classified as critical because of

  • - its high recyclability
  • - the extensive stocks at central banks that could, in principle, be released onto the market
EU-Classification
  • Not assessed
Forecasts (ISI 2009)
Future technologies
  • LCD's
Future development
  • Increase in the number of LCD TVs purchased will lead to millions of LCD TVs being discarded over the coming decades. Gold is one of the valuable contents found in LCDs for materials recycling.
ISI indicator 2030:
  • Not assessed
Substitutability (USGS 2010)
Recycling
Recyclability
  • Rate of recycling: not assessed (EC 2010)
  • High
Occurrence in anthropogenic sources
  • Jewellery
  • Stocks at central banks
  • Electronic appliances
  • Dentures
Click on a hyperlinked term to read the corresponding explanation in the glossary.
Use (ISI 2009)
  • Thin film coatings (indium tin oxide, ITO) (84%)
  • Alloys and solder (8%)
  • Other compounds (5%)
  • Semiconductors and electronic components (2%)
  • Research & development (1%)
Supply & Demand 2009 (USGS 2010, USGS 2008)
Mine production Reserves Ressources Static Lifetime

510 t/year (2007) and
600 t/year (2009)

11,000 t (2007)
no data for 2009
no data 21 years (2007)
Supply Risks
Producing countries 2009 (USGS 2010) Producing companies
  • China (50,3 %)
  • South Korea (14.2 %)
  • Japan (10.1 %)
  • Canada (8.4 %)
  • Belgium (5.0%)
  • Top 3: 74.5 %
  • Top 5: 87.9 %
  • no data
 
Trade barriers (EC 2010)
  • China: export quotas and export duties (5%)
  • Russia: export duties (6.5%)
  • South-Africa: export is not automatically granted
  • Tanzania: export ban
IW-Classification

Not assessed

EU-Classification
Forecasts (ISI 2009)
Future technologies
  • CIS (copper indium selenide) – thin-film photovoltaics
  • ITO on displays
  • Indium gallium nitrite for LEDs and blue-ray discs
Future development
  • Requirements will increase greatly for future technologies
ISI indicator 2030:
  • 3.29
Substitutability (USGS 2010)
  • Substitutability Index: 0.9 (EC 2010)
  • Antimony tin oxide as a substitute for ITO in display applications
  • Carbon nanotubes as an alternative for ITO in displays, solar cells and touch screens
  • Poly (3.4-ethylene dioxythiophene) (PEDOT) as an ITO substitute in displays and light emitting diodes
  • Graphene quantum dots as an ITO substitute in solar cells and LCDs
  • Gallium arsenide as a substitute for indium phosphide in solar cells and semiconductor applications
  • Hafnium in place of indium in alloys for control elements of a nuclear reactor
Recycling
Recyclability
  • Rate of recycling: 0.3 % (EC 2010)
  • Indium is primarily recovered by recycling residue from sputtering
  • An LCD producer has developed a process to recover indium from LCDs
Occurrence in anthropogenic sources
  • LCDs
Click on a hyperlinked term to read the corresponding explanation in the glossary.
Use (ISI 2009)
  • Electrical & electronic products (41%)
  • Buildings (23%)
  • Construction: machines and equipment (12%)
  • Transport: automobiles (10%)
  • Transport: other applications (4%)
Supply & Demand 2009 (USGS 2010)
Mine production Reserves Ressources Static Lifetime

15.8 million t/year

540 t 3,000 t 35 years
Supply Risks
Producing countries 2009 (USGS 2010) Producing companies (BGR 2007)
  • Chile (34 %)
  • Peru (8 %)
  • USA (7.5 %)
  • China (6 %)
  • Indonesia (6 %)
  • Top 3: 49.5 %
  • Top 5: 61.5 %
  • Codelco (Chile) 12.5 %
  • BHP Biliton (AUS) 8.6 %
  • Phelps Dodge (USA) 6.8 %
  • Grupo Mexico (Mex) 5.8 %
  • Rio Tinto (GB) 5.4 %
Trade barriers (EC 2010)
no data
IW-Classification

Not assessed

EU-Classification
Forecasts (ISI 2009)
Future technologies
  • Soft lead-free solder
  • Industrial electric motors
  • Electrical traction engines for vehicles
  • RFID tags
  • High temperature superconductors
Future development
  • Wide structure of use
  • Not possible to imagine future electrical and electronic technologies without copper
  • Copper requirements for the above-mentioned future technologies will increase to 24% of today's primary production of copper
ISI/IZT indicator 2030:
  • 0.24
Substitutability

Substitutability Index: 0.56 (EC 2010)

  • current flow with power current wires using (conducting) aluminium
  • pipes (residential buildings) using plastic pipes
  • copper wires (transferring data) can be substituted with glass fibre

In general, it is true to say that copper is a widely used metal that is practically impossible to substitute due to its electrical conductivity
Aluminium, titanium, steel, glass fibre, plastic

Recycling
Recyclability
  • Rate of recycling: EU 20 % (EC 2010), Germany 54 % (BGR 2007)
  • Copper recycling is an essential component for copper production across the world
  • Copper is easy to recycle
Occurrence in anthropogenic sources
  • Potential in German landfills approx. 850,000t of copper (Rettenberger 2009)
  • A relative concentration in construction waste, WEEE, light shredder materials
Click on a hyperlinked term to read the corresponding explanation in the glossary.
Use (EC 2010)

Gallium arsenide

  • optoelectronics (laser diodes, LEDs, photodetectors and solar cells)
  • integrated circuits

 

Gallium nitride

  • optoelectronics
  • sensor applications

 

Gallium phosphide in light-emitting diodes

Supply & Demand 2009 (USGS 2010)
Mine production Reserves Ressources Static Lifetime

78 t/year

no data > 1,000,000 t no data
Supply Risks
Producing countries 2009 (USGS 2010) Producing companies 2003 (EC 2010)
Most important producers: China, Germany, Kazakhstan, Ukraine

A total of 60 producing companies in 18 countries

Trade barriers (EC 2010)
  • South Africa: export is not automatically granted
  • China: export quotas and export duties (5%)
  • Russia: export duties (6.5%)
IW-Classification

Not assessed

EU-Classification
Forecasts (ISI 2009)
Future technologies
  • White LEDs
  • High-performance microchips
  • Thin-film photovoltaics
Future development
  • Enormous growth in gallium requirements for thin-film photovoltaics and microchips
  • Strong growth, too, in the area of white LEDs and other future technologies
ISI indicator 2030:
  • 6.09
Substitutability (USGS 2010)
  • Substitutability Index: 0.74 (EC 2010)
  • Liquid crystals in displays instead of LEDs
  • Indium phosphide/helium-neon instead of gallium arsenide in laser diodes
  • Silicon in solar cells
  • An effective substitution for gallium arsenide is not possible in some areas of application involving integrated circuits
Recycling
Recyclability
  • Rate of recycling: 0 % (EC 2010)
  • There is effectively no old scrap available
  • Recycling is carried out on production residue
Occurrence in anthropogenic sources
  • There is effectively no old scrap available at the moment
Click on a hyperlinked term to read the corresponding explanation in the glossary.
Use (EC 2010)
  • Batteries (27%)
  • Superalloys and magnets (26%)
  • Hard metals (14%)
  • Pigments (10%)
  • Catalytic converters (9%)
Supply & Demand 2009 (USGS 2010)
Mine production Reserves Ressources Static Lifetime

61,800 t/year

6,604,000 t 15 million t + 1. Mrd.t 1 billion t hypothetical resources on the sea bed 107 years
Supply Risks
Producing countries 2009 (USGS 2010) Producing companies 2004 (BGR 2007)
  • DR Congo (40.5 %)
  • Australia (10.2 %)
  • China (10.0 %)
  • Russia (10.0 %)
  • Canada (8.1 %)
  • Top 3: 60.7 %
  • Top 5: 78.8 %
  • Inco (8.0 %)
  • Glencore (4.0 %)
  • Noranda (1.8 %)
  • Lionore Mining (0.4 %)
  • Mincor Resources (0.3 %)
  • Top 3: 13.8 %
  • Top 5: 14.5 %
Trade barriers
  • Political instability in the DR Congo (ISI 2009)

IW-Classification

Not assessed

EU-Classification
Forecasts (ISI 2009)
Future technologies
  • Lithium-ion batteries
  • Superalloys (aviation industry, medical technology)
  • Catalytic converters for the production of synthetic fuels (GTL, BTL)
  • Hard metals (high performance cutting tools)
Future development

Demand will be stimulated by:

  • increase in the production of lithium accumulators
  • production of synthetic fuels
  • new applications for superalloys
  • growth in the areas of application in Asia (EC 2010)
ISI indicator 2030:
  • 0.40 (ISI 2009)
Substitutability
  • Substitutability Index: 0.9 (EC 2010)
  • Practically impossible to substitute cobalt without a loss in performance. Efforts being made to find substitutes because of volatile prices ' success here, above all, for magnet applications and increasingly for batteries.
Recycling
Recyclability (EC 2010, IS 2009, UGS 2010)
  • Recycling is being carried out on scrap metal, catalytic converters and batteries containing cobalt; there is potential to increase this.
  • Recycling from pigments, glass, paints etc not possible as these involve dissipative applications.
  • 24% of cobalt requirements in the USA is recovered from scrap.
Occurrence in anthropogenic sources
  • Batteries
  • Catalytic converters
  • High performance cutting tools
  • Turbine buckets (superalloys, high temperature steels)
Click on a hyperlinked term to read the corresponding explanation in the glossary.
Use (ISI 2009, EC 2010)

Titanium dioxide (95%)

  • Paints
  • Plastics
  • Paper
  • Catalytic converters, ceramics

Titanium (metal)

  • Aviation and space aviation
  • Plant engineering
  • Medical applications
Supply & Demand 2009 (USGS 2010)
Mine production Reserves Ressources Static Lifetime

5,720,000 t/year (USGS 2010)

73,.000,000 t (USGS 2010) 2 Mrd.t (ISI 2009) 128 years (USGS 2010)
Supply Risks
Producing countries 2009 (USGS 2010) Producing companies 2005 (BGR 2007)
  • Australia (26 %)
  • South Africa (19 %)
  • Canada (10 %)
  • China (10 %)
  • India (7 %)
  • Top 3: 56 %
  • Top 5: 73 %
  • Rio Tinto (23.8 %)
  • Iluka Resources (20.4 %)
  • Anglo American (12.1 %)
  • NL Industries (9.3 %)
  • BHP Billiton (6.9 %)
  • Top 3: 56.3 %
  • Top 5: 72.5 %

Sufficient number of producing companies and countries spread across the world

IW-Classification
  • Less critical
EU-Classification
Forecasts (ISI 2009)
Future technologies
  • Miniaturized capacitors
  • Seawater desalination
  • Orthopaedic implants
  • Dye solar cells
Future development
  • Increased requirements as a result of new areas of application
    (protection against corrosion for seawater desalination plants, implants, miniaturized capacitors, dye solar cells, superalloys)
ISI indicator 2030:
  • 0.29
Substitutability (ISI 2009)
  • Substitutability Index: 0.32 (EC 2010)
  • Titanium dioxide can be substituted in many applications
  • Substitution is possible in seawater desalination plants
  • Very difficult to substitute in high-tech products because of its excellent strength, corrosion resistance and light weight
Recycling
Recyclability (EC 2010, ISI 2009)
  • Use of the titanium minerals lead to dissipation ' cannot be recycled
  • Large amounts of titanium metal are being recycled
Occurrence in anthropogenic sources
  • Metals and metal alloys
  • TiO2 as a white pigment is widespread
Click on a hyperlinked term to read the corresponding explanation in the glossary.
Use (BGR 2007)
  • Glazes for the ceramics industry and special ceramics (52.4%)
  • Refractory industry (14.7%)
  • Foundry industry (14.9%)
  • Metals (nuclear reactors) and chemicals (8.2%)
  • Cathode ray tubes (8%)
  • Others (1.8%)
Supply & Demand 2009 (USGS 2010)
Mine production Reserves Ressources Static Lifetime

1,23 million t/year

56 million t 60 million t 46 years
Supply Risks
Producing countries 2009 (USGS 2010) Producing companies (IW 2008)
  • Australia (41.5 %)
  • South Africa (32 %)
  • China (11.5 %)
  • Top 3: 85 %
  • Concentration of the three largest companies
  • Top 3: 61.8 %
Trade barriers (EC 2010)
no data
IW-Classification

Particularly critical (IW 2008)

EU-Classification
  • Not assessed
Forecasts (ISI 2009)
Future technologies
  • no data
Future development
  • Not assessed
ISI/IZT indicator 2030:
  • Not assessed
Substitutability
  • Substitutability Index: no data
  • Many minerals which often have inferior properties
  • Not substitutable for special ceramics and in its metallic form as zirconium/hafnium for nuclear reactors
Recycling
Recyclability
  • Rate of recycling: 0 % (BGR 2007)
Occurrence in anthropogenic sources
  • Disperse in ceramic products, waste refractory products
Click on a hyperlinked term to read the corresponding explanation in the glossary.
Use (ISI 2009)
  • Heat-resistant and stainless steels (84%)
  • Superalloys, cermets and other steels (9%)
  • Chemicals industry (3 %)
  • Foundry sands (3%)
  • Refractory materials (1%)
Supply & Demand 2009 (USGS 2010)
Mine production Reserves Ressources Static Lifetime
23 million t/year > 350 million t ~ 12,000 million t (ISI 2009) 15 years
Supply Risks
Producing countries 2009 (USGS 2010) Producing companies (EC 2010)
  • South Africa (41.7 %)
  • India (16.9 %)
  • Kazakhstan (15.6 %)
  • Other (27.3 %)
  • Top 3: 74.2 %
  • English-Kazakh ENRC
  • English-Russian
  • Kermas Group
  • Swiss Xstrata
  • Top 3: 45 %
Trade barriers (EC 2010)
  • South Africa / Algeria: export permits not automatically granted
  • Tansania: ban on exports
IW-Classification
  • Particularly critical (IW 2008)
EU-Classification
Forecasts (ISI 2009)
Future technologies
  • Desalination of sea water
  • Marine technology
  • Orthopaedic implants
Future development (ISI 2009)
  • By 2030, demand for chromium will have increased fivefold as a result of the above-mentioned future technologies but will remain at a low, non-critical level
ISI/IZT indicator 2030:
  • Low (ISI 2009)
Substitutability (EC 2010)
Recycling
Recyclability (ISI 2009)(BGR 2007)
  • Rate of recycling: 13% (EC 2010)
  • Recycling of chromium from alloys is well developed and is economically viable
  • No information available on the recycling of chromium in non-metallic products
Occurrence in anthropogenic sources
  • Old scrap
  • Landfills for metallurgical slag, foundry sands and waste refractory products

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Use (VCI 2010b)
  • Fuels (ca. 55%)
  • For producing energy (approx. 31%)
  • For producing materials chemicals (approx. 14%)
 
Supply & Demand 2009 (BGR 2009b)
Mine production Reserves Ressources Static Lifetime
3,894 million t/year 159,865 million t 90,564 million t 41 years
Supply Risks
Producing countries 2008 (BGR 2009b) Producing companies in Deutschland 2003 (BGR 2009a)
  • Saudi-Arabia (13.2 %)
  • Russia (12.5 %)
  • USA (7.8 %)
  • Iran (5.4 %)
  • China (4.9 %)
  • Top 3: 33,6 %
  • Top 5: 43.9 %

Amount from company-own production activities approx. 3.2%, of which

  • RWE Dea / Wintershall 62 %
  • Exxon Mobile 18.5 %
  • GdF – PEG 10 %
  • Wintershall 8 %
  • EEG 0.7 %
 
  • Conventional reserves primarily concentrated in the Middle East
  • Conventional resources are lower but have a better regional spread
  • Supply risks are probable due to shortages, unstable political situations and/or the market strength of the producing countries
IW-Classification
  • Not assessed
EU-Classification
  • Not assessed
Forecasts (ISI 2009)
Future technologies
  • Use of non-conventional resources, e.g. oil sands, oil shale
Future development (BGR 2009b)
  • May be a shortage in supply in a few decades
  • Market share of the Gulf States will increase
  • Non-conventional sources will probably continue to play only a limited role
  • Strong price fluctuations and increasing prices over the medium to long term likely
ISI/IZT indicator 2030:
  • Not assessed
Substitutability
  • Fuels: substitution by changing systems (electromobility), biofuels or coal liquefaction
  • Energy: can, in principle, be substituted
  • Synthetic primary material: e.g. can be substituted with regenerative raw materials or coal
Recycling
Recyclability
  • Recycling only possible combined with a negative energy footprint
  • Considerable savings potential by increasing efficiency and reducing energy consumption
Occurrence in anthropogenic sources
  • Energy content in landfill waste in Germany approx. 7,700 PJ
  • Large-scale facilities not available to turn waste and biomass into oil and currently not economically viable
  • Crude oil products (plastics) in landfills probably not recyclable

Click on a hyperlinked term to read the corresponding explanation in the glossary.

Use (EC 2010)
  • Glass and ceramics (37%)
  • Batteries (20%)
  • Lubricating grease / oil (11%)
  • Molten aluminium (7%)
  • Gas and air cleaning systems (5%)
  • Synthetic fibres, synthetic rubber and plastics (3%)
  • Medicines (2%)
  • Aluminium alloys (0.4%)
Supply & Demand 2009 (USGS 2010)
Mine production Reserves Ressources Static Lifetime
18,000 t/year 9.9 million t 23 million t 550 years
Supply Risks
Producing countries 2009 (USGS 2010) Producing companies (IW 2008)
  • Chile (41 %)
  • Argentina (24.4 %)
  • China (12.7 %)
  • USA (12.2 %)
  • Portugal (2.7 %)
  • Top 3: 78.1 %
  • Top 5: 93 %

Concentration on the three largest companies

  • Top 3: 57.8 %
Trade barriers (EC 2010)
  • South-Africa: export permits not automatically granted
IW-Classification
  • Critical (IW 2008)
EU-Classification
Forecasts (ISI 2009)
Future technologies
  • Lithium-ion accumulators for vehicles, mobile electronic appliances and power tools
Future development (EC 2010)
  • Increasing demand but there should be sufficient lithium available until 2050 due to high levels of reserves
ISI/IZT indicator 2030:
  • Not assessed
Substitutability (BGR 2007)
Recycling (EC 2010)
Recyclability
  • Rate of recycling: 0% from scrap (EC 2010)
  • Possible to recycle, especially from batteries
Occurrence in anthropogenic sources
  • Lithium ion batteries
  • Ceramics and glass

Click on a hyperlinked term to read the corresponding explanation in the glossary.

Use (ISI 2009)
Platinum:
  • Catalytic converters in vehicles (42.3%)
  • Jewellery (34%)
  • Chemicals and petrochemicals (7.8%)
  • Others (15.9%)
Palladium:
  • Catalytic converters in vehicles (50.9%)
  • Electronics and electronic technology (14.9%)
  • Dental technology (13.7%)
  • Others (20.5 %)
Supply & Demand 2009 (USGS 2010)
Mine production Reserves Ressources Static Lifetime
178 t/year (Platinum)
195 t/year (Palladium)
71,000 t 100,000 t 190 years
Supply Risks
Producing countries 2009 (USGS 2010) Producing companies 2003 (IW 2008)
  • South-Africa (58.7 %)
  • Russia (26.8 %)
  • USA (4.3 %)
  • Canada (3.8 %)
  • Zimbabwe (2.9 %)
  • Top 3: 89.8 %
  • Top 5: 96.5 %

Concentration on the three largest companies

  • Top 3: 73.1 %
Trade barriers (EC 2010)
  • Russia: export duties: 6.5%
IW-Classification
  • Particularly critical (IW 2008)
EU-Classification
Forecasts (ISI 2009)
Future technologies
  • Catalysis
  • Fuel cells for electric powered vehicles
  • Dye solar cells
  • Hydrogen storage
Future development (ISI 2009)
  • Critical rise in demand for platinum if there is a wide use of fuel cells
  • Considerable effects on palladium
ISI/IZT indicator 2030:
  • 1.56 (ISI 2009)
Substitutability (IW 2008)
Recycling
Recyclability (ISI 2009)
  • Rate of recycling: 35% (EC 2010)
  • The recycling of expensive platinum metals is well developed
Occurrence in anthropogenic sources
  • Jewellery
  • Old catalytic converters

Click on a hyperlinked term to read the corresponding explanation in the glossary.

Use (EC 2010)
  • Catalytic converters (20%)
  • polished glass / mirrors (24%)
  • Magnets (19%)
  • Metallurgy: batteries (8%)
  • Metallurgy: iron and steel (6%)
  • Metallurgy: Al / Mg alloys (1%)
  • Phosphorus (7%)
  • Pigments (1%)
  • Ceramics: capacitors (1%)
  • Ceramics: other uses (4%)
  • Other applications (9%)
Supply & Demand 2009 (USGS 2010)
Mine production Reserves Ressources Static Lifetime
0.124 million t/year 99 million t k.A. 798 years
Supply Risks
Producing countries 2009 (USGS 2010) Producing companies
  • China (97 %)
  • India (2 %)
  • Brazil (< 1 %)
  • Malaysia (< 1 %)
  • Andere: –
  • Top 3: 99 %
  • Top 5: 100%
  • No data available
Trade barriers (EC 2010)
  • China: export duties since 2006
IW-Classification
  • Not assessed
EU-Classification
Forecasts
Future technologies (ISI 2009)
  • Permanent magnets, laser technology (neodymium)
  • SOFC fuel cells, Al alloy element (scandium)
  • High temperature superconductivity, laser technology (yttrium)
Future development
  • Neodymium is the most important element when mining rare earths (ISI 2009)
  • The future technologies segment looked at covers approx. 55% of today's neodymium requirements, a clear increase is expected from 2030 onwards, e.g. high performance magnets in electric motors (ISI 2009)
ISI/IZT indicator 2030:
  • 3.82 Neodym (ISI 2009)
  • 0.01 Yttrium (ISI 2009)
  • 2.28 Scandium (ISI 2009)
Substitutability (ISI 2009)
Recycling
Recyclability
  • Rate of recycling: 1 % (EC 2010)
  • Dissipative structure of use is one of the reasons why only a small amount of rare earths are recoveredfrom secondary raw materials.
  • The products that are recycled the most here are scrap permanent magnets
Occurrence in anthropogenic sources
  • Batteries, polished mirror and precision lenses
  • cathode ray tubes, fluorescent lamps

Click on a hyperlinked term to read the corresponding explanation in the glossary.

Use (EC 2010)
  • Hard metals (60%)
  • Alloyed steels
    (primarily tool steels > 80%) 13%
  • Superalloys (6%)
  • Finished products (17%)
  • Tungsten alloys (4%)
Supply & Demand (USGS 2010)
Mine production Reserves Ressources Static Lifetime
58,000 t/year 2.8 million t k. A. 48 years
Supply Risks
Producing countries 2009 (USGS 2010) Producing companies (BRG 2007, EC 2010)
  • China (81 %)
  • Russia (4 %)
  • Canada (3,5 %)
  • Austria (1.7 %)
  • Bolivia (1.5 %)
  • Top 3: 88,5 %
  • Top 5: 91.7 %
  • Chinese firms > 75 %
  • NA Tungsten (Canada) 5.50%
  • Tungsten Bergbau (AUT) 2.10%
Trade barriers (EC 2010)
  • China: export quotas / trade restrictions possible
IW-Classification
  • Less critical (IW 2008)
EU-Classification
Forecasts
Future technologies
  • No data available
Future development
  • Not assessed
ISI/IZT indicator 2030:
  • Not assessed
Substitutability
  • Substitutability Index: 0.77 (EC 2010)
  • Substitution of tungsten leads to higher costs, loss in product performance and fewer eco-friendly alternatives
  • Ceramic-metallic composite materials (BGR 2007)
Recycling
Recyclability (EC 2010)
  • Rate of recycling: 37 %
    Can be recycled but depends on the economic conditions
Occurrence in anthropogenic sources
  • Scrap carbide

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