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Cobalt. Copper. Lithium. Nickel. Platinum. Zinc. And don’t forget the rare earth elements, especially neodymium. These and dozens of other metals and minerals are critical for technologies central to the clean economy transition — especially electric vehicles. And none are in particularly abundant supply, at least not in the places where they are needed.
That reality, coupled with growing pains related to the semiconductor shortage and supply chain disruptions that dragged down the electronics and automotive sectors throughout 2021, is the catalyst for a marked rise in initiatives aimed at “mining” materials from products already in circulation and out of the waste streams associated with virgin extraction of natural resources.