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Indium

Chemically similar to gallium, indium is primarily produced as a by-product of zinc, lead, and copper mining. In 2012, 90% of indium demand stemmed from applications in liquid crystal displays (LCDs), touchscreens, and thin film coatings and solar cells. Further demand for indium came from specialized alloys and solders, various inter-metallic compounds, LEDs, low-pressure sodium vapor lamps, control rods for nuclear reactors, and medical imaging technologies. Globally, since 2006, there has been between 600 and 650 tonnes of refined indium produced annually by over 14 nations with a collective refinery capacity of around 775 tonnes. While the list of suppliers is globally diverse, more than 50% of annual production comes from China and around 15% from  South Korea, exacerbating potential supply risks as indium demand continues to grow. Additionally, with the impending closure of major zinc mines in Canada and Australia, and no major zinc projects expected to add supply in their wake, primary indium production is expected to be suppressed over the next five years as growing demand erodes present day supply surpluses. With indium recovery rates from base metal concentrates rarely topping 35%, there exists tremendous opportunities to bolster global indium production through advances in extractive metallurgy.

Current market trends and challenges:
 

    By-product of zinc, lead, and copper mining

    90% of demand from LCDs, touchscreens, coatings

    China produces more than 50% of annual supply     Impending zinc mine closures will restrict supply growth

    Metallurgical recovery low, depressing primary production

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