About 1500 tonnes of gold are mined each year. Most mined gold is stored as bullion. It is also used extensively in jewellery, either in its pure form or as an alloy.
95% of the demand comes from industry, investment and jewelry. About 25Kt of silver are produced annually in the world. Silver is the main ingredient in photovoltaic cells. Silver contacts in membrane switch panels are now standard in control panels for machinery, chemical industry processes, railway traffic controls and elevator buttons.
Platinum Group Metals Platinum is used for jewellery. Its main use, however, is in catalytic converters for cars, trucks and buses. It is also used as a catalyst to improve the efficiency of fuel cells.
/Base Metals
Most copper is used in electrical equipment such as wiring and motors. Most zinc is used to galvanise other metals. Large quantities of zinc are used to produce die-castings. Nickel is used in batteries, including rechargeable nickel-cadmium batteries and nickel-metal hydride batteries used in hybrid vehicles.
A lanthanum-nickel alloy is used to store hydrogen gas for use in hydrogen-powered vehicles. Lanthanum is also found in the anode of nickel metal hydride batteries used in hybrid cars. Hafnium is used in several alloys with iron, titanium and niobium.
/RI - Ethics
Metals needs evolve with the emergence of new technologies and innovations in materials science. This is a fact and we can observe it from the rising demand for lithium, rare earths, graphite and alloying metals as Niobium, Molybdenum, Titanium and others. These trends are also linked to economic constraints and sustainability of solutions. Research into substitution and recycling are an integral part of the life cycle of metals and therefore natural resource requirements