The extraordinary growth of the computer and semiconductor industries and the increasing consumption of indium in these technologies in recent years have placed major constraints on current and future reserves of this metal. In the past, geoscientists have noticed the occurrence of indium in a large variety of ore de- posits and detailed geochemical and mineralogical work is available for a few ex- amples. However, despite the current technological interest, there is no compre- hensive textbook that deals with all aspects of indium mineralization and economics. The present study attempts to develop a general metallogenic concept for indium in identifying the essential enrichment processes and their economic significance. The study 'Indium Geology, Mineralogy, and Economics' was commissioned and funded by the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Re- sources (BGR Hannover) and is a contribution to the research program 'BGR 2000 - Raw Materials with Short Lifetime Reserves'. This program focuses on raw materials with known reserves confined to the next 20-25 years at static de- mand.
The future availability of reserves is usually estimated by dividing the known reserves by the current annual consumption. In fact, lifetimes of reserves are inappropriate measures because they depend on many parameters and there- fore represent a "snapshot" of a dynamic system. In order to provide a sustainable use of raw materials with short lifetime reserves, a significantly higher amount of innovation is needed compared to raw materials with long lifetime reserves.
Publisher: Springer-Verlag Berlin and Heidelberg GmbH & Co. KG