Increasing Scarcity of Earth's Rare Materials

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According to studies that factored the percentage of a material in the Earth's crust and the importance it has to modern society, rhodium is among the rarest elements, along with gold, platinum and tellurium. One estimated projection from China, which produces over 90 percent of the world's rare earth metals, says that their mines for metals like platinum will not be able to keep up with demand in 15 years, and silver demand will overcome supply in 20 years.

Have you ever wondered what the rarest material in the world is?

According to studies that factored the percentage of a material in the Earth's crust and the importance it has to modern society, rhodium is among the rarest elements, along with gold, platinum and tellurium.

One estimated projection from China, which produces over 90 percent of the world's rare earth metals, says that their mines for metals like platinum will not be able to keep up with demand in 15 years, and silver demand will overcome supply in 20 years.

Other rare earth elements that are used in small amounts to power personal electronic devices like cellphones, laptop computers, tablets, and also electronic medical equipment could also become scarcer.

Lawrence Meinert, program coordinator of the US Geological Survey's Mineral Resources Program is quoted as saying: "As supply and demand change, prices change and people adapt what they need and how they use it. This means that you can never consume everything because the price gets so high you stop using it."

Other experts agree that although these materials might become less available due to a number of factors including political conflicts and mining feasibility, there is no way to say definitively if they have run out.

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Tags
earth crust, earth minerals

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