Why are strategic elements and critical materials important?
Many technologies use materials with specific magnetic, catalytic and luminescent properties. These range from batteries in consumer electronics and catalysts in pharmaceuticals development to clean energy technologies, such as energy-efficient lighting, electric vehicles and solar cells. Modern agriculture depends on phosphate fertilizers, whose supply is predicted to become inadequate to meet demand within 30 years. Hi-tech smartphones contain over 50 different metals that are essential to their operation. Simply put, without efficient use, recycling or replacement of these metals, the modern technologies we enjoy will become impossible to maintain.