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Chapter 15 Nonrenewable Mineral Resources. MINERALS, ROCKS, AND THE ROCK CYCLE  The earth’s crust consists of solid inorganic elements and compounds.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 15 Nonrenewable Mineral Resources. MINERALS, ROCKS, AND THE ROCK CYCLE  The earth’s crust consists of solid inorganic elements and compounds."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 15 Nonrenewable Mineral Resources

2 MINERALS, ROCKS, AND THE ROCK CYCLE  The earth’s crust consists of solid inorganic elements and compounds called minerals that can sometimes be used as resources. Mineral resource: is a concentration of naturally occurring material in or on the earth’s crust that can be extracted and processed into useful materials at an affordable cost. Mineral resource: is a concentration of naturally occurring material in or on the earth’s crust that can be extracted and processed into useful materials at an affordable cost.

3 General Classification of Nonrenewable Mineral Resources  The U.S. Geological Survey classifies mineral resources into four major categories: Identified: known location, quantity, and quality or existence known based on direct evidence and measurements. Identified: known location, quantity, and quality or existence known based on direct evidence and measurements. Undiscovered: potential supplies that are assumed to exist. Undiscovered: potential supplies that are assumed to exist. Reserves: identified resources that can be extracted profitably. Reserves: identified resources that can be extracted profitably. Other: undiscovered or identified resources not classified as reserves Other: undiscovered or identified resources not classified as reserves

4 General Classification of Nonrenewable Mineral Resources  Examples are fossil fuels (coal, oil), metallic minerals (copper, iron), and nonmetallic minerals (sand, gravel). Figure 15-7

5 GEOLOGIC PROCESSES  Deposits of nonrenewable mineral resources in the earth’s crust vary in their abundance and distribution.  A very slow chemical cycle recycles three types of rock found in the earth’s crust: Sedimentary rock (sandstone, limestone). Sedimentary rock (sandstone, limestone). Metamorphic rock (slate, marble, quartzite). Metamorphic rock (slate, marble, quartzite). Igneous rock (granite, pumice, basalt). Igneous rock (granite, pumice, basalt).

6 Rock Cycle Figure 15-8

7 ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF USING MINERAL RESOURCES  The extraction, processing, and use of mineral resources has a large environmental impact. Figure 15-9

8 Fig. 15-9, p. 344 Surface mining Metal oreSeparation of ore from gangue SmeltingMelting metal Conversion to product Discarding of product (scattered in environment) Recycling

9 Fig , p. 344 Natural Capital Degradation Extracting, Processing, and Using Nonrenewable Mineral and Energy Resources Steps Environmental effects Mining Disturbed land; mining accidents; health hazards, mine waste dumping, oil spills and blowouts; noise; ugliness; heat Exploration, extraction Processing Solid wastes; radioactive material; air, water, and soil pollution; noise; safety and health hazards; ugliness; heat Transportation, purification, manufacturing Use Noise; ugliness; thermal water pollution; pollution of air, water, and soil; solid and radioactive wastes; safety and health hazards; heat Transportation or transmission to individual user, eventual use, and discarding

10 ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF USING MINERAL RESOURCES  Minerals are removed through a variety of methods that vary widely in their costs, safety factors, and levels of environmental harm.  A variety of methods are used based on mineral depth. Surface mining: shallow deposits are removed. Surface mining: shallow deposits are removed. Subsurface mining: deep deposits are removed. Subsurface mining: deep deposits are removed.

11 Open-pit Mining  Machines dig holes and remove ores, sand, gravel, and stone.  Toxic groundwater can accumulate at the bottom. Figure 15-11

12 Area Strip Mining  Earth movers strips away overburden, and giant shovels removes mineral deposit.  Often leaves highly erodible hills of rubble called spoil banks. Figure 15-12

13 Contour Strip Mining  Used on hilly or mountainous terrain.  Unless the land is restored, a wall of dirt is left in front of a highly erodible bank called a highwall. Figure 15-13

14 Mountaintop Removal  Machinery removes the tops of mountains to expose coal.  The resulting waste rock and dirt are dumped into the streams and valleys below. Figure 15-14

15 Mining Impacts  Metal ores are smelted or treated with (potentially toxic) chemicals to extract the desired metal. Figure 15-15

16 SUPPLIES OF MINERAL RESOURCES  The future supply of a resource depends on its affordable supply and how rapidly that supply is used.  A rising price for a scarce mineral resource can increase supplies and encourage more efficient use.

17 SUPPLIES OF MINERAL RESOURCES  Depletion curves for a renewable resource using three sets of assumptions. Dashed vertical lines represent times when 80% depletion occurs. Dashed vertical lines represent times when 80% depletion occurs. Figure 15-16

18 SUPPLIES OF MINERAL RESOURCES  New technologies can increase the mining of low-grade ores at affordable prices, but harmful environmental effects can limit this approach.  Most minerals in seawater and on the deep ocean floor cost too much to extract, and there are squabbles over who owns them.

19 USING MINERAL RESOURCES MORE SUSTAINABLY  Scientists and engineers are developing new types of materials as substitutes for many metals.  Recycling valuable and scarce metals saves money and has a lower environmental impact then mining and extracting them from their ores.

20 Fig , p. 351 Solutions Sustainable Use of Nonrenewable Minerals Do not waste mineral resources. Recycle and reuse 60–80% of mineral resources. Include the harmful environmental costs of mining and processing minerals in the prices of items (full-cost pricing). Reduce subsidies for mining mineral resources. Increase subsidies for recycling, reuse, and finding less environmentally harmful substitutes. Redesign manufacturing processes to use less mineral resources and to produce less pollution and waste. Have the mineral-based wastes of one manufacturing process become the raw materials for other processes. Sell services instead of things. Slow population growth.

21 Case Study: The Ecoindustrial Revolution  Growing signs point to an ecoindustrial revolution taking place over the next 50 years.  The goal is to redesign industrial manufacturing processes to mimic how nature deals with wastes. Industries can interact in complex resource exchange webs in which wastes from manufacturer become raw materials for another. Industries can interact in complex resource exchange webs in which wastes from manufacturer become raw materials for another.

22 Fig , p. 352 Sludge Pharmaceutical plant Local farmers Sludge Greenhouses Waste heat Fish farming Oil refinery Surplus natural gas Electric power plant Fly ash Surplus sulfur Surplus natural gas Waste calcium sulfate Waste heat Cement manufacturer Sulfuric acid producer Wallboard factory Area homes


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