Peak Metals

World News Australia published an article yesterday (15th June) about “peak metals” – the same concept as “peak oil” (please read our blog (Not So Solid) Foundations for an overview of “peak oil”) except the peaking relates to the mining of metals.

Chuquicamata, Chile Open Pit Copper

Chuquicamata, Chile Open Pit Copper Mine - One of the Deepest in the World

Apparently, some academics argue that nickel sulphite, copper and gold could have already peaked.  In addition, where global supplies are known, it seems that countries such as China and Russia do not publish readily available data and for many metals, particularly rare earth metals, we do not have an adequate global assessment of stocks.

Perhaps surprisingly, the article states “there is no doubt that the metals that drive our society are finite resources – and extracting them from the earth has to end.”

The World News Australia article is well worth a read.

Oh, by the way, have you heard about “peak phosphorous” (estimated to occur in the next 30 years)?  Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for all plants – to find out more, please visit the Global Phosphorus Research Initiative web site.

Seems we need to be paying more attention to these “peak” issues and planning (and acting) accordingly rather than trying to continue business as usual.

David M. Davison

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