It will not be long until the peak oil problem will spread onto a number of metals. Profitable sources of many inorganic raw materials have already been exhausted. In primary raw materials, the ore content of metals is beginning to be very low, so that the exploitation is increasingly time- and energy consuming. By way of application examples, it will be demonstrated that many raw materials have a tremendous influence on our day-to-day life even though their actual content in a final product may appear to be negligible. The recovery of precious raw materials and their recycling back into the substance cycle will remain one of the main head topics on society's agenda for decades to come. Development of novel recovery processes is in full swing as will be shown by the examples chosen for this article
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