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Rare elements and ecology

Alex M. Andrew (Reading University (Retired), Reading, UK)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 18 October 2011



The paper seeks to review the undesirable side‐effects of some measures to protect the environment, particularly the results of increased demand for certain metals used in hybrid cars and wind turbines, and for tantalum for mobile phones. The increased demands for indium and lithium due to technical developments are also discussed although they do not pose corresponding dilemmas.


The aim is to review developments on the internet, especially those of general cybernetic interest.


Undesirable side‐effects need to be considered, though means of overcoming them are not always apparent.

Practical implications

In the case of tantalum and mobile phones, attention has been given to ethical sourcing. The possibility of indium extraction in the UK is a welcome development.


It is hoped this is a valuable periodic review.



Andrew, A.M. (2011), "Rare elements and ecology", Kybernetes, Vol. 40 No. 9/10, pp. 1547-1549.



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