Figure 19. Medium-term base case primary indium supply projected to 2016 and 2031 (indium
The base case scenarios are self-explanatory, but the derivations of figures for the other two
scenarios that examine improved recovery efficiency require more clarification. As discussed in
the short-term supply curves, recovery inefficiency has two principal causes: (1) indium-bearing
concentrates not being sent to indium-capable smelters; and (2) metallurgical losses through the
recovery process, which may be caused by less efficient technologies being used at plants,
smelters, and refineries. In deriving the medium-term supply curves, we assume that 100% of
indium-bearing concentrates are sent to indium-capable smelters, which increases 2016 indium
primary production from 827 tonnes to 1,182 tonnes and 2031 primary production from 1,365
tonnes to 1,950 tonnes. These calculations are detailed in Appendix D.
Examining potential indium supply where pipeline efficiencies are gained yields the primary
indium supply curves depicted in Figure 20 and Figure 21 for 2016 and 2031, respectively. Costs
are kept in 2011 US$ terms to facilitate comparison across time, though one would expect costs
to rise in nominal terms between 2016 and 2031.
(tonnes of primary indium metal per annum)
Medium-term primary indium supply curves
base case 2016
base case 2031
Figure 20. Medium-term primary indium supply (2016)
Figure 21. Medium-term primary indium supply (2031)
In all these scenarios, we include supply anticipated to come from known indium projects
identified in Section 4.1, namely Mount Pleasant, Malku Khota, Pirquitas, Pinquito, and South
Crofty. The La Oroya complex is not included because it is a metallurgical and refinery complex
and we are hesitant to treat it as “new production.” We believe that it may simply reflect a shift
of production from a country that currently treats Peruvian concentrates. The positions of these
potential new sources of supply are explicitly depicted in Figure 22 to indicate where these
deposits might feature competitively and what fraction of primary indium they might contribute
Medium-term primary indium supply curves (2016)
base case 2016
Scenario 1: Base case + efficiency improvement
Medium-term primary indium supply curves (2031)
base case 2031
Scenario 2: Base case + efficiency improvement
Figure 22. Medium-term primary indium supply (2016), including positioning of known potential
The costs and quantities for these deposits were determined using a bottom-up approach and
using publically available information. The estimation methodology adopted to allocate costs to
indium and other main products, coproducts, and byproduct metals was similar to that described
in Appendix D for Adex’s Mount Pleasant deposit.
4.4 Expansion of Secondary Supply
Recovery from mines and recyclers may well increase. Such recycling capacity would keep pace
with manufacturing waste as demand for flat-panel displays (the leading user of ITO) expands.
We model secondary supply as a function of ITO demand and efficiency improvements.
We use CAGRs of 3%, 5%, and 7% when forecasting indium demand to 2031. We also vary the
efficiency of the recovery process to provide a range of potential medium-term secondary supply
as detailed in Table 18.
The first set of numbers in Table 18 uses various demand growth rates to estimate the potential
demand for indium for ITO applications in 2016 and 2031. The 2011 figures are derived using a
linear extrapolation between the European Commission’s 2010 and 2015 demand estimates
(Moss et al. 2010). The panel of figures summarizes the amount of indium likely to be “fed” into
the recycling plants; the third set presents secondary supply estimates if recovery efficiencies
remained at the current level of 65%. The final set of figures indicates secondary supply if
overall recovery were increased to 90% from 65%.
Table 18 shows that, without any improvements in recovery efficiency, secondary supply could
expand from its current base of 609 tpa to 778 and 1,689 tpa in 2016 and 2031, respectively. This
represents a CAGR of 5.2% between 2011 and 2031. When incorporating the potential increases
in supply that result from improved recovery efficiencies, secondary supply almost doubles to
1,078 tpa and quadruples to 2,339 tpa in 2016 and 2031, respectively, representing a CAGR