Earth’s metals and minerals, essential to our technology, are running out. We need to explore long-forgotten passages in flooded mines

Indium, rhodium, platinum, tellurium and gold: these are some of the rarest elements in the world. From smartphones (which contain a whopping 60 to 64 elements) to hybrid cars, wind turbines and medical equipment, much of the technology we depend upon contains a rich list of elemental ingredients.

Meanwhile, demand for traditional metals such as copper and aluminium is rocketing, driven by the rapid growth of emerging economies in Asia and South America.

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