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Chapter 15 Minerals: A Non-renewable Resource. Overview of Chapter 15. Introduction to Minerals Mineral Distribution and Formation How Minerals are Found and Extracted Environmental Impact of Minerals An International Perspective Increasing the Supply of Minerals

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Chapter 15 Minerals: A Non-renewable Resource

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    1. Chapter 15Minerals: A Non-renewable Resource

    2. Overview of Chapter 15 • Introduction to Minerals • Mineral Distribution and Formation • How Minerals are Found and Extracted • Environmental Impact of Minerals • An International Perspective • Increasing the Supply of Minerals • Substitution and Conservation

    3. •

    4. Introduction to Minerals • Minerals • Elements or compounds of elements that occur naturally in Earth’s crust • Rocks • Naturally formed mixtures of minerals • Ore – rock with large amount of mineral

    5. Introduction to Minerals • Examples of Minerals • Nonmetal: salt, sand, stone • Metal: copper, aluminum, iron

    6. Mineral Distribution • Abundant minerals in crust • Aluminum and iron • Distributed unevenly across globe • If found in low abundance, mining is not profitable

    7. Mineral Distribution • US imports over 50% of its most needed • Depleted reserves leads to mining of lower grades which needs more processing and produces more pollution • Examples of distribution of global reserves • Oil: Middle East • Natural Gas: Middle East • Coal (largest source of fuel for electricity): China • Diamonds - Africa • Gold – S. Africa • Six tons of waste to make 2 gold rings

    8. Formation of Mineral Deposits • Result of natural processes • Magmatic concentration (igneous) • As magma cools heavier elements (Fe and Mg) settle • Responsible for deposits of Fe, Cu, Ni, Cr • Hydrothermal processes • Minerals are carried and deposited by water heated deep in earth’s crust • Sedimentation • Weathered particles are transported by water and deposited as sediment on sea floor or shore • Evaporation • Salts are left behind after water body dries up

    9. Extracting Minerals • Surface Mining • Remove overlying soil/rock (overburden) and then scoop out minerals • More common because less expensive • Two kinds: open pit and strip mining (ex: mountain top removal for coal) • Subsurface Mining • Mineral and energy resources are extracted from deep underground deposits • Two kinds: shaft mine and slope mine • Disturbs land less, more expensive, more dangerous

    10. Extracting Minerals-Open Pit Surface Mining

    11. Relevant laws • Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (1977) – requires reclamation of land mined for coal

    12. Reclaiming of Mining lands • Reclaim to semi-natural state • Prevent further erosion • Control source of toxic pollutants • Giving purpose to land other than mining

    13. Reclaiming of Mining Land • Creative Approaches • - Wetlands • Trap sediment and pollutants before they get into streams, improving water quality • Expensive to create and maintain, but cost effective compared to using lime to decrease acidity • - Phytoremediation • Use of specific plants to absorb and accumulate toxic materials in soil • Great potential

    14. Environmental issues • Toxic heavy metals: tailings - wastes after processing, toxic (cyanide, mercury, sulfuric acid) – pollute air, soil, water • Acid mine drainage • Smelting – air pollution, mainly sulfur emitted, reacts with oxygen to form sulfur dioxide which reacts with water form to sulfuric acid. Also, cadmium (cancer), lead (neurotoxin) into air • Massive energy usage – mostly fossil fuels (depletes reserves and produces CO2) • Massive water usage • Destroys vegetation • habitat loss, erosion

    15. Processing Minerals • Smelting- process in which ore is melted at high temps to separate impurities from the molten metal

    16. Environmental Impacts of Refining Minerals

    17. Will We Run Out of Important Metals? • Mineral Reserves • Mineral deposits that have been identified and are currently profitable to extract

    18. Mineral Conservation • Includes reuse and recycling of existing mineral supplies • Reuse- using items over and over again • Reduces both mineral consumption and pollution • Benefits greater than recycling – less energy inputted • Recycling- converting item into new product • Common practice throughout industrialized world • Reduces land destruction from mining • Reduces solid waste • Decreases energy consumption and pollution

    19. North American Consumption of Selected Metals

    20. Changing Our Mineral Requirements • Must change out “throw away” mentality • Damaged or unneeded articles are thrown away

    21. Minerals: An International Perspective • Highly developed countries rely on mineral deposits in developing countries • They have exhausted their own supplies • Governments in developing countries lack financial resources to handle pollution • Acid mine drainage • Air and water pollution

    22. Increasing Supply of Minerals –Locating and Mining New Deposits • Many known mineral deposits have not yet been exploited • Difficult to access • Ex: Malaria ridden forests of Indonesia • Insufficient technology • Ex: polar regions • Located too deep • Ex: 10km or deeper

    23. Increasing Supply of Minerals –Minerals in Antarctica • No substantial mineral deposits identified to date • Geologists feel they will be discovered in near future • No one owns Antarctica • Antarctica Treaty (1961) • Limits activity to peaceful uses (i.e. scientific studies) • Madrid Protocol (1990) • Moratorium on mineral exploration and development for minimum of 50 years

    24. Increasing Supply of Minerals- Minerals from the Ocean • May provide us with future supplies • Extracting minerals from seawater • Mining seafloor- Manganese nodules (below)

    25. Advance Mining and Processing Technologies • Special techniques to make use of large, low-grade mineral deposits world-wide • Currently requires a lot of energy • Biomining • Using microorganisms to extract minerals from low-grade ores

    26. Finding Mineral Substitutes • Important goal in manufacturing • Driven by economics- cut costs! • Substitute expensive/scarce mineral resources for inexpensive/abundant ones • Examples: • Using plastic, glass or aluminum in place of tin • Using plastic instead of lead and steel in telecommunications cables • Using glass fibers instead of copper wiring in telephone cables

    27. Mineral Flow in an Industrial Society