The Supply Issues of Indium

by:Longsun     2020-05-14
Today we are going to discuss Indium. This rare industrial metal has grown in importance in the last few years. The uses of Indium increase every day. You find Indium in CIGS Thin-Film Solar Cells, LCDs, touchscreens, cell phones, iPhones, semi-conductors, computers, touch screens, and photovoltaics. As you can see the uses of this metal are vital to our world economy. Can you imagine not being able to have touch screens on your iPad, an Android Mobile phone or your big screen LCD television? Indium also makes CIGS Thin-Film Solar Cells more efficient in energy production. Many of the metals that are needed for items such as solar panels, super-conductors and jet engines are produced as by-products of lead, zinc, copper, manganese or aluminium mining. There is no chance of increasing production of indium, gallium, germanium, rhenium, thorium and tellurium from primary mines. Chinese demand is growing and, there are supply constraints. New mines cannot be brought on stream at the flick of a switch. We will have a supply problem with indium in the mid-term future if we continue consuming it at the current rate without recycling. For example, The Korea Times recently reported that their Ministry of Knowledge and Finance is slated to add Indium to its critical substances list in June 2011, since the nation's heavy hitters, like Samsung and LG, are dangerously dependent of the element. According to, A�New ScientistA�, the known reserves of Indium are 16,000 tons with worldwide annual production of 600 tons. As you can see within two decades the reserves will be depleted. According to Jack Lifton of Tech Metal Research, Indium will have critical supply issues in the next 0-5 years. Which will ease a bit in the 5-15 year range. China now has control over 97% percent of the supply of Rare Industrial Metals or Technical Metals. The USA currently imports 100% of its Indium from China, Japan and Canada. Europe imports 95% of its Indium from China, Japan and Canada. Indium values range from $1-$5 per gram. Where will the price be in the coming years? Last year China decided to cut back on its exports of Rare Industrial Metals including Indium. America's Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that it could take up to 15 years for the West to catch up with China and develop alternative supplies. If we base the future price on the basic Supply and Demand curve, I believe we will see very expensive Indium in the near future.
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