Geologists warning over metals shortage

Last Updated: Thursday, October 13, 2011 - 12:16

London: Geologists have sounded the warning bells over shortage of some metals owing to an insatiable demand for consumer goods.

"Mobile phones contain copper, nickel, silver, zinc, aluminium, gold, lead, manganese, palladium, platinum and tin," said Gawen Jenkin, geologist from the University of Leicester.

"More than a billion people will buy a mobile phone in a year - so that`s quite a lot of metal. And then there`s the neodymium in your laptop, the iron in your car, the aluminium in that soft drink can - the list goes on," Jenkin said, the journal Nature Geoscience reports.

"It is reassuring that there`s no immediate danger of `peak metal` as there`s quite a lot in the ground, still - there will be shortages and bottlenecks of some metals like indium due to increased demand," Jenkin said, according to a Leicester statement.

"That means that exploration for metal commodities is now a key skill. It has never been a better time to become an economic geologist, working with a mining company. It`s one of the better-kept secrets of employment in a recession-hit world.

"And a key factor in turning young people away from the large mining companies -- their reputation for environmental unfriendliness -- is being turned around as they make ever-greater efforts to integrate with local communities for their mutual benefit," he added.

So, our appetite for technological goodies will be satisfied for some time to come still, he said.

Jenkin convened the Fermor Meeting of the Geological Society of London to discuss metal shortages.


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First Published: Thursday, October 13, 2011 - 12:16

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