We need metals because they are lustrous and conduct heat and electricity. They are both malleable and ductile when heated. They are solid and strong at room temperature. They protect against corrosion. Batteries need metals in pairs. Some metals are precious and lustrous. Some are brassy and base and only scarce.
Not a bad list of properties. Without metals there are no EV batteries or smart phones. No cabling for data centres in the Cloud. No cars, planes or skyscrapers. No storage and distribution of power without metals. The problem is that although these metals are valuable, they are not valuable enough. Value needed to incentivise taking risk. The risk of losing it all on the pitch-and-toss of exploration.
A single wind-turbine can have up to a tonne of copper wiring in the massive generators at the top of the tower.
On average you need about eight kilograms of zinc to protect a car from rust. To make die-cast door handles and locks you need another nine kilograms. Every tyre needs 0.22 kilograms to cure the rubber. Zinc is the primary defence against corrosion. An estimate of the cost of corrosion in the US economy is 3.2% of its GDP or US$423 billion per annum. https://galvanizeit.org/hot-dip-galvanizing/what-is-zinc/facts-about-zinc
Car makers in India only galvanise 30 per cent of cars. This is a huge safety issue. Why? Cost. But India is the sixth largest producer of zinc. Zinc can store six times more energy per pound than other battery systems. This increases the range of electric vehicles. Zinc-air batteries have powered cars to speeds of 120 mph.
Base metals become more valuable because they become scarce. Resources are finite. Bit demand increases relentlessly with population growth. With the economic ascent of man and the environmental descent of the planet. Demand for metals links to urbanisation. To middle class demand for cars, electronics and white goods. The middle-class demographic is burgeoning in China. https://www.businessinsider.com/chinas-middle-class-is-exploding-2016-8?r=US&IR=T.
China is the world’s largest producer of zinc.
Ireland has a world-class zinc district. It is not much better in zinc. Explorers discovered six of Irelands largest zinc mines in the 1970’s. The last major zinc discoveries were Lisheen in March 1990 and Pallas Green in 1999. Pallas Green is still undeveloped. Discoveries are getting deeper and more concept driven. Group Eleven Resources has a Big Think exploration strategy in Ireland. Note that I am a co-founder of Group Eleven Resources Corp (TSX-V) www.groupelevenresources.com
Mercury is a liquid at room temperature.