Konsul Discusses Metal Raw Materials with Experts
bifa manager, Prof. Wolfgang Rommel raised the subject and justified why, from a scientific perspective, there can be no true scarcity of metals. However, he emphasized that it will be more expensive in the future to recover these raw materials. Dr. Siegfried Kreibe (bifa) explained that China, because of its significance as a producer and also as a consumer of metals, can influence world market prices. However, he also pointed out the great backlog demand of the country.
The United States, like Germany, depends on the import of metal raw materials. William E. Moellor (US General Consul) promoted free worldwide markets and confirmed good trade relationships with Germany.
Dr. Hubertus Bardt of the Institut der Deutschen Wirtschaft (Institute of the German Economy) indicated the German perspectives. Since rare metals typically are used in very small amounts, their price actually does not generally play a major role for industry. According to Friedel Hütz-Adams of Südwind, the use of metals can become an image problem for German companies if the consumer learns of poor working conditions in mines and the disregard of environmental standards. He recommends that companies provide clarity concerning the origin of the raw materials in that they shorten the supply chains, which frequently are very complicated. That there are problems is also confirmed by Prof. Hermann Wotruba (RWTH Aachen), a mining expert. However, due to the available techniques, there are also many positive examples of a social and environmental-compatible mining.
Many questions were directed to the speakers during the subsequent podium discussion. These were about efficiency and the legal framework as the driving force of recycling and about the importance of product design for the use and recycling of the material. However, the great importance of the consumer for the consumption of metal raw materials was also a subject.