As we set out to take an in-depth look “Through the Gateway” over the course of the next few months, we will be zeroing in on the five gateway metals we examined as part of our 2012 report – Aluminum, Copper, Nickel, Tin and Zinc, as well as the tech metals they“unlock.”
These materials have increasingly found their way into many high-tech applications and have become indispensable staples of 21stCentury innovation. While their application has dramatically changed, we’re still using what has become an outdated label. In keeping with the metals theme – we believe the time has come to scrap the “by-product” metal label, and refer to these building blocks of our high-tech future as “co-products.”
Merriam-Webster defines the term “by-product” as
1 : something produced in a usually industrial or biological process in addition to the principal product
2 : a secondary and sometimes unexpected or unintended result.
While the first definition certainly applies to the above-referenced tech metals, it’s the “accidental” connotation of the second definition that continues to stick, and to a certain degree diminishes the importance of these key materials.
The term “co-product” better captures the critical nature of metals and minerals like Tellurium, which fuels the bright future of solar energy, or Indium, without which our touchscreens would not function.
So help us spread the word – if Orange is the New Black, in the metals world, “co-product” is the new “by-product.”