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Posted Sun Jul 6 2008: from Robert Silverberg, in Asimovs Science Fiction:
Peak Metals: Gallium, Indium, Zinc, Copper
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.... Dr. Reller says that by 2017 or so there'll be [no gallium] left to use. Indium, another endangered element -- number 49 in the periodic table -- is similar to gallium in many ways, has many of the same uses ... and is being consumed much faster than we are finding it. Dr. Reller gives it about another decade.
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