Next Article in Journal
The Relationship of Causal Factors Affecting the Future Equilibrium Change of Total Final Energy Consumption in Thailand’s Construction Sector under a Sustainable Development Goal: Enriching the SE-VARX Model
Next Article in Special Issue
Jumping the Chain: How Downstream Manufacturers Engage with Deep Suppliers of Conflict Minerals
Previous Article in Journal
A Relationship of Causal Factors in the Economic, Social, and Environmental Aspects Affecting the Implementation of Sustainability Policy in Thailand: Enriching the Path Analysis Based on a GMM Model
Previous Article in Special Issue
Environmental and Social Pressures in Mining. Results from a Sustainability Hotspots Screening
Article Menu
Issue 4 (December) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Resources 2018, 7(4), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources7040088

Decreasing Metal Ore Grades—Is the Fear of Resource Depletion Justified?

Institute for Industrial Ecology, Pforzheim University, Tiefenbronner Str. 65, 75175 Pforzheim, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 11 December 2018 / Accepted: 14 December 2018 / Published: 19 December 2018
Full-Text   |   PDF [3864 KB, uploaded 19 December 2018]   |  

Abstract

Metals are an essential part of modern living. Ensuring the future supply of metals is a key issue in politics, science, and economics because the available amount of mineral resources is limited. To measure the depletion of mineral resources, several indicators are used. Some of them are based on the ore grade, which has been decreasing over time and is thus taken as a sign of resource exhaustion. However, does this assumption hold true? This paper shows that the development of ore grades is mainly the result of the increasing demand and the outstanding technological improvements that made mining of low grade ores profitable. The usage of ore grades as an indicator may, therefore, lead to erroneous conclusions about the safeguard objects. These are not the metals themselves, but the environment that is impacted by their extraction. View Full-Text
Keywords: resource depletion; ore grade; metals; copper; influencing factors; indicators resource depletion; ore grade; metals; copper; influencing factors; indicators
Figures

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
SciFeed

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Rötzer, N.; Schmidt, M. Decreasing Metal Ore Grades—Is the Fear of Resource Depletion Justified? Resources 2018, 7, 88.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Resources EISSN 2079-9276 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top