From a recent New Scientist:
"A Metal Scare to Rival the Oil Scare"
Indium, gallium and hafnium are some of the least-known elements on the periodic
table, but New Scientist warns that reserves of these low-profile minerals and
others like them might soon be exhausted thanks to the demand for flat screens
and other high-tech goods. Scientists who have tried to estimate how long the
worlds mineral supply can meet global demand have made some gloomy predictions.
Armin Reller, a materials chemist at the University of Augsburg in Germany,
estimates that in 10 years the world will run out of indium, used for making
liquid-crystal displays for flat-screen televisions and computer monitors. He
also predicts that the world will run out of zinc by 2037, and hafnium, an
increasingly important part of computer chips, by 2017."
"Dwindling of Rare Metals Imperils Innovation
The world may soon find itself running out of rare metals used to form key
components in high-tech devices from cell phones to semiconductors to solar
panels, according to a report in New Scientist magazine."
It is not only an impending gap in demand and supply of oil that imposes upon
the conservation of human civilization, the pressing and imminent depletion of
world metals threatens all developments in solar energy and communications via
LCD screens etc. and also nuclear power. The rate of of platinum recovery makes
vehicles powered by hydrogen-fuel cells an unlikely possibility on any
significant scale comparable with oil-powered transportation. Simple strategies
for reusing "scrap" metals will not alleviate the shortage of metals, but
ultimately recycling needs to be deliberately designed into an integrated
paradigm of extraction, use and reuse, rather than treating it as an unplanned
That’s why I have several 55-gallon drums of Indium, gallium and hafnium in my basement.
Just kidding – I couldn’t resist.
This is old news. Peak Oil News has been reporting on this and peak water for some time now.