May 03, 2017 03:11 AM EDT
Recent studies suggest that industrial minerals like copper, zinc, and others will not last for several decades before the industrial demand exhausted them off. On the contrary other experts claim that mineral resources are sufficient for many more centuries, even with a growing demand. This dilemma of trying to reconcile both arguments is wracking off those who are still undecided.
According to earth science professor Lluis Fontbote of the University of Geneva, the notion of finite mineral resources can be explained when taken together with available data. Some researchers that claim of just decades of mineral resources' availability have based their conclusion on "quantifiable reserves." On the contrary, there are other undiscovered reserves which can be exploited, according to Phys.org.
The mineral resources upon which the "limitations" were based are identified and quantified. If so, the predictions which pegged to just a few decades are "artificial" figures. Meaning, the mineral reserves which are yet to be discovered and explored are not taken into account, EurekAlert explained.
Fontbote also argued that the reserves for mineral resources were made by mining companies as a guide for profitable investment. There are larger reserves available and currently untapped since hoarding might be unproductive and costly in the long run. In fact, the estimate that the mineral resources are going to dwindle in 40 to 50 years remains unchanged even after 40 years have already lapsed. Also, there has been a shortage before but that was pointed to operational and economic problems, not on the basis of lacking supply.
If the current mining technology is also taken into account, then the worry about limited mineral resources might prove baseless. Companies are currently mining at 300 meters from the earth's crust. However, it is possible to go as deep as 3,000 meters to get the mineral resources. Needless to say, such depth is theoretically an even richer region which can respond to sharp demand, given the needed logistics to mine them.
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