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There's another problem, which is how increased demand might change the price. If a material is produced from an ore, it may be easy to ramp up production. Gallium, though, is mostly produced as a by-product of aluminium production. Unless other sources are developed (the flue-ash mentioned in the article?), the production of gallium will be limited to being a small fraction of the production of aluminium -- aluminium ore contains about 50 parts per million. On the other hand, it may be that most of this potential by-product isn't extracted at present, which would leave more room for growth in production.

Total annual world production a few years ago was estimated to be 61 tons, so growth would presumably have to be huge, in percentage terms.

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by technopolitical on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 05:14:28 PM EST
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This pdf says 34% of gallium use goes to semiconductors. I don't know where the rest goes but that isn't exactly massive demand.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 01:03:07 AM EST
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Oh, great. Biofuels lead to peak corn and this new oil replacement to peak electronics.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 03:08:24 AM EST
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