Silicon is the crude oil of the Digital Age. Millions of metric tons are mined every year in China, Russia, Norway, the US and elsewhere, much of which is used in the $500 billion global market for semiconductors.
The majority of the world production which is done mainly in China and Russia (in 2014 about 7 million tonnes) is used as an alloy component for steel and aluminium, as well as a raw material for the production of silicones.
Only about 2% of the raw silicon is prepared for hyper-pure silicon as described in the following section,
of which approximately 90% is used for the manufacture of silicon solar cells. Some 100 tonnes a year
are ultimately used in the production of silicon wafers for the semiconductor sector, which this chapter is
That 100 tonnes looks a little low to me but then what do I know?
It’s still true that silicon production for semiconductors is the merest fraction of silicon production overall.
The rest of the piece is very good.