LONDON, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- An insatiable demand for consumer electronic products could threaten worldwide shortages and bottlenecks of some metals, British scientists warn.
Leading geologists, writing in the journal Nature Geoscience, say there's danger in the ongoing surge in demand for metals.
"Mobile phones contain copper, nickel, silver and zinc, aluminium, gold, lead, manganese, palladium, platinum and tin," Gawen Jenkin of the University of Leicester said. "More than a billion people will buy a mobile in a year -- so that's quite a lot of metal.
"And then there's the neodymium in your laptop, the iron in your car, the aluminium in that soft drinks can -- the list goes on."
Scientists gathered at a meeting of the Geological Society of London to discuss the issue.
"With ever-greater use of these metals, are we running out? That was one of the questions we addressed at our meeting," Jenkin said.
"It is reassuring that there's no immediate danger of 'peak metal' as there's quite a lot in the ground still -- but there will be shortages and bottlenecks of some metals like indium due to increased demand."
The concept of "peak metal" is similar to the notion to "peak oil," referring to the maximum sustainable rate of production of a finite resource.