Bentonite, a mineral extracted from rocks that is used to make bricks and mortar, is now the third most expensive metal in the world, according to a report released Thursday by the World Bank.
In 2015, the Bentonite Institute estimated that the price of a pound of bentonite rose to $7.90.
In 2020, the World Resources Institute said the price had climbed to $18.10.
The institute’s report says the price per pound of the metal has increased by over $40,000 in the past decade.
It said the number of applications for bentonite mining permits has tripled since 2009, from 5,000 to almost 20,000.
The world is currently producing about 8.6 million metric tons of bentite a year, the report said.
The World Bank said bentonite could provide jobs and improve economic conditions in some developing countries and boost domestic production.
But the report noted that the demand for the metal is increasing because it is being used in the production of cement and other construction materials.
The price of bentonite mining permits also rose sharply during the economic crisis of 2008-09, and it is now at a record high of $1,100 per pound.
The metal has been used in construction since the 1950s.
But it was used in this manner for the first time in the United States in 2003.
The government-funded National Bentonite Association estimates that the U.S. could generate about $1 billion a year by harvesting bentonite from mines in the Midwest and Southeast, and by mining and processing it in China.
The Bentonite Chamber of Commerce said the Bentonite Institute report is a “dangerous over-simplification” of the industry.
It also said the industry is in the process of developing an independent body to review the industry’s sustainability.
But according to the BentoMiner website, “We’re just here to make money.”
The report said the demand from the government is expected to exceed supply by the end of the decade, as the United Nations Development Program has proposed.
“If we continue to grow at the current pace of production and the development of mining technology, we’ll be able to harvest the bulk of the world’s bentonite production within the next 10 years,” said the report.
The Institute said that because the World Economic Forum says the world needs 1.5 billion tons of the mineral in 2020, “the market for bentonitite is projected to grow significantly.”
The BentoMine website says that its main purpose is to “provide a new and cleaner alternative to conventional mining methods.”
It says it also can help improve the environmental and health of the environment by extracting, processing and recycling bentonite and other minerals.
It says the Bentotine Institute has submitted more than 3,000 applications for a variety of mining permits.