Lin, Shaohua; Mao, Jiansu; Chen, Wei-Qiang*

Resources, Conservation and Recycling 2019 149, 312-321. DOI:10.1016/j.resconrec.2019.05.028


Based on the general framework of substance flow analysis, this paper quantifies the social economic metabolism of indium in China. The results show that in recent years, the output of indium primary products in China accounts for more than 50% of the worldwide production, but the domestic consumption is less than 20%. For the lack of key technologies for processing into indium tin oxide (ITO), more than 98% of the high quality ITO targets depend on imports. As the indium industry has been affected by policy, great changes have occurred in China's indium import/export trade, which has mainly focused on a few countries. There is a significant excess in indium primary products, which are mainly absorbed by national purchasing and the Pan Asian Nonferrous Metals Exchange. In the short-term this protects the development of China's primary indium industry, but in the long-term the development of indium still needs to rely on downstream industries. The quantitative analysis of indium flow can provide a quantitative scientific basis for adjusting the indium industrial structure, improving the indium industrial policy and realizing the sustainable development of the indium industry.

Graphic Abstract
Substance flow diagram of indium in China in 2014(unit: tonne).
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