From smartphone batteries to electric vehicles, many metals are a key part of a range of technologies.
So, will the shortage of the market and the rising price hinder the global technology industry?
Cobalt has been used for years to make dark blue
Colors of pottery, paint and jewelry.
But recently, it has become the key metal used in batteries that power millions of technology products, including electric vehicles produced by Tesla and other companies.
About half of the demand for cobalt comes from the expansion of production and development of electric vehicles around the world.
The problem is, we can't get enough.
It is no wonder that its price has doubled in the last year alone.
"We are definitely entering the deficit period, which will start this year," said Laura Smith, general manager, core advisor, commodities researcher.
"In 2016, the supply of cobalt was about 104,000 tons, and the demand was about 103,500 tons.
Hybrid and electric vehicles are at a new stage of growth, so we expect the deficit to grow as we continue along this track.
"Only 2% of cobalt is directly mined --
98% of it is produced as a by-product.
Products for nickel and copper mining.
Unlike other battery metals such as lithium, cobalt is very rare and its quality varies from region to region.
About 2 out of 3 supplies come from the Congo region of Africa.
No wonder Toronto's first cobalt company recently invested in seven large areas of central Africa's "copper belt" with the aim of finding more copper and cobalt reserves underground.
"The market penetration rate of electric vehicles around the world is expected to grow by 26% this year alone," Ceo Trent Mel told the BBC . ".
"We expect cobalt demand to grow at a rate of 5% per year over the next five years.
In terms of supply, there are very few new channels of production.
"It may take 10 years to produce a mine into full production.
"Efforts to mine cobalt in North America are underway, but any increase in US and Canadian production is expected to be small compared to the expected global demand for the future.
The Congolese mining area was also reviewed in dealing with allegations of child labor and other human rights violations, which was summarized in a report by Amnesty International last year.
In other words, it may take quite a long time to increase supply.
The shortage of "technical metal" supplies is not limited to cobalt.
Many modern electronic products depend on them.
Just a few examples, namely, nd, ase, and dys --
Make them faster, lighter, stronger and more energy efficient.
These rare earth metals, as well as a small number of metals, such as lithium and ta, are now as important as conventional base metals and precious metals.
The red color on the MacBook Pro screen is made from eu;
Green is because of a metal called tb.
Touch screen technology relies on indium, "explains David Abraham, author of the book Elements of Power.
"In the past 100, many of these metals were discovered.
We have been playing with copper and iron for a long time.
But we are just beginning to understand the power of these new materials.
"Unlike cobalt, most other technical metals are not rare.
It's tricky to get them out of the ground and into the manufacturing site.
Again, most people
Other products of base metal mining activities and involve additional complex chemical extraction processes.
Due to weak environmental regulations, China dominates the mining and production of many technical metals.
For example, it produces 100% of the world's rare earths.
Although there's a lot of talk in other countries-
Australia in particular
In Mr Abraham's view, there is little real interest in the establishment of its own mine and processing center.
Many countries are reluctant to open up new mining and processing facilities because they are considered "dirty" and are not welcome in the environment, he said.
The wake-up call for technology companies sounded on 2010
When the prices of several rare and rare metals riserocketed.
"Prices of some of these materials have risen sharply," co-
Founder of consulting group technology Metal Research.
"Some prices have risen from 300% to 1,000% for various reasons, which reminds everyone that we rely on these materials and they all come from China --
This may be a problem.
"Although the prices of most elements are normalized again, the fact that China has such an impact on supply has drawn increasing attention.
In the United States and elsewhere, political and economic differences between China and the West have always been a topic.
Discover your lack of cooperation in China
You may see your basic technical metal supply drying up overnight.
One way to break the shackles of China is to recycle these materials.
Apple, which is leading the way in this field, organized a series of robots called Liam to disassemble the used iphone in seconds, enabling the recycling and reuse of many of the materials used, such as cobalt, gold and Gold.
But it is difficult for technology companies to predict what will happen in ten years.
If the supply of key elements decreases, the price of new equipment may rise if the supply does not meet the demand.
Perhaps in this case, we may have to learn to live longer with our existing gadgets.