The Availability of Indium: The Present, Medium Term, and Long Term



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This report is available at no cost from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) at www.nrel.gov/publications 

As indicated by the wide range of possible values contained within the confidence intervals, this 

analysis is a very crude approximation of indium’s long-term price. Although additional data or 

different techniques may help to reduce the variation in the estimates, these would not address 

some of the underlying weaknesses with this approach. For example, although the plots in Figure 

26 and Figure 27 can be intuitively appealing, the methodology ignores specific features of 

minerals that complicate such a broad-brush comparison: 

  Various minerals and types of ore bodies are associated with varying degrees of 



metallurgical complexity. This complexity directly affects costs and yields, which in turn 

affect historical supply and prices. 

  Various types of deposits are found in various types of mines The depth and geometry of 



these deposits can affect mining-specific costs and recoveries or add dilution. External 

dilution tends to not be reported in company resource estimates and would therefore 

potentially bias the ore concentration calculation.  

  Many deposits contain more than one mineral. A mineral’s association with other metals 



(i.e., whether it is a main product, coproduct, or byproduct) and its overall contribution to 

a mine’s profitability will directly affect the level of costs and therefore the price required 

to recover that mineral. 

Despite these shortcomings, these estimates provide an important starting point for assessing the 

long-term supply of indium. Further work is needed to estimate the quantities of indium likely 

contained in deposits of different concentrations, mineralogies, and geographic locations. 




 

55 


This report is available at no cost from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) at www.nrel.gov/publications 

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