Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Rare Earth Mineral Shortage Followed By New Discovery

For decades, no, make that centuries, Malthusians have warned about how we will run out of natural resources because of population growth and economic growth. And all the times these predictions have failed to materialize as real signs of potential shortages have been averted through more efficient use and/ or the dsicovery of substitutes and/ or the discovery of new supplies. This is what we now see happening with regard to so called rare earth minerals.


Blogger flute said...

"Rare earth minerals" actually aren't that rare - this series of metals just happened to be given that name at the time of discovery. There are plenty of deposits all over the world, notably large ones in the US. China, however, has more or less monopolised the world market by taking prices down and thereby driving competing mines into bankruptcy. In recent years there has been talk of reopening rare earth mines in the US.
If you want to look at resources running out, consider the case of gold. Global gold production looks like it passed its peak in 2000 and has been falling since then, even though the price of gold has been racing to the skies. The average mine grade of gold ores has fallen quickly from 2.2 grams per tonne in 2000 to below 1.2 grams per tonne now. A clear example of how resources are exhausted.

11:03 AM  

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