Navigation Links
After millennia of mining, copper nowhere near 'peak'
Date:7/3/2013

New research shows that existing copper resources can sustain increasing world-wide demand for at least a century, meaning social and environmental concerns could be the most important restrictions on future copper production.

Researchers from Monash University have conducted the most systematic and robust compilation and analysis of worldwide copper resources to date. Contrary to predictions estimating that supplies of this important metal would run out in around 30 years, the research has found there are plenty of resources within the reach of current technologies.

The database, published in two peer-reviewed papers, was compiled by Dr Gavin Mudd and Zhehan Weng from Environmental Engineering and Dr Simon Jowitt from the School of Geosciences. It is based on mineral resource estimates from mining companies and includes information vital for carbon and energy-use modelling, such as the ore grade of the deposits.

Dr Jowitt said the database could change the industry's understanding of copper availability.

"Although our estimates are much larger than any previously available, they're a minimum. In fact, figures for resources at some mining projects have already doubled or more since we completed the database," Dr Jowitt said.

"Further, the unprecedented level of detail we've presented will likely improve industry practice with respect to mineral resource reporting and allow more informed geological exploration."

Dr Mudd said the vast volumes of available copper meant the mining picture was far more complex than merely stating there were 'x' years of supply left.

"Workers' rights, mining impacts on cultural lands, issues of benefit sharing and the potential for environmental degradation are already affecting the viability of copper production and will increasingly come into play," Dr Mudd said.

Despite examples like the Ok Tedi mine in Papua New Guinea, where mining has continued despite widespread environmental degradation that has affected thousands of residents, non-economic factors have constrained some mining operations and the researchers believe this will become increasingly important in the near future. An example is the Pebble copper-gold project in Alaska, which after more than a decade still doesn't have the necessary approvals due to the environmental and cultural concerns of nearby residents.

"Pressingly, we need to acknowledge that with existing copper resources we're not just going to be dealing with the production of a few million tonnes of tailings from mining a century ago; we are now dealing with a few billion tonnes or tens of billions of tonnes of mine waste produced during modern mining," Dr Mudd said.

The researchers will now undertake detailed modelling of the life cycles and greenhouse gas impacts of potential copper production, and better assessment of future environmental impacts of mining.

They will also create similar databases for other metals, such as nickel, uranium, rare earths, cobalt and others, in order to paint a comprehensive picture of worldwide mineral availability.


'/>"/>

Contact: Emily Walker
emily.walker@monash.edu
61-399-034-844
Monash University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Research shows Vitamin D levels drop after pediatric heart surgery, increasing sickness
2. Body fat hardens arteries after middle age
3. Dietary flexibility may have helped some large predators survive after last ice age
4. Musicians who learn a new melody demonstrate enhanced skill after a nights sleep
5. University of Tennessee professors research shows Gulf of Mexico resilient after spill
6. After the Genome tackles tough questions about medicine, miracles and morality
7. Study points to essential role of IL-22 in lung repair after the flu
8. Superbugs may have a soft spot, after all
9. Malnutrition -- Living hungrily ever after
10. Rice University lab show how blood vessels regroup after stroke
11. Growth factor aids stem cell regeneration after radiation damage
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/31/2017)... Mass. , Jan. 31, 2017  Spero ... novel therapies for the treatment of bacterial infections, ... set of antibacterial candidates from Pro Bono Bio ... increased prevalence of multi-drug resistant forms of Gram-negative ... Cantab Anti Infectives Ltd, a PBB group company. ...
(Date:1/26/2017)... , Jan. 26, 2017  Acuity Market ... for Biometrics and Digital Identity".  Acuity characterizes 2017 ... identity when increased adoption reflects a new understanding ... "Biometrics and digital identity are often ... Maxine Most , Principal of Acuity Market ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... 2017  It sounds simple and harmless—an electronic ... vital signs and alerts parents on their smart ... level drops. But pediatric experts argue that such ... no evidence of medical benefits, especially to healthy ... to parents of healthy babies, promising peace of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/23/2017)... and SAN FRANCISCO , Feb. ... regenerative medicine company, and Beyond Type 1, a not-for-profit ... 1 diabetes, today announced a grant from Beyond Type ... cure for type 1 and other insulin-requiring diabetes.  ... been developing innovative stem cell-derived cell replacement therapies with ...
(Date:2/22/2017)...  PrimeVax Immuno-Oncology, Inc. announced today its CEO, ... Biocom Global Life Science Partnering Conference.  The presentation will ... the Torrey Pines Lodge, in San Diego.  ... who have chosen our company, amongst numerous others, to ... and clinical researchers," said Mr. Chen. "In contrast to ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... ... February 22, 2017 , ... LabRoots , the leading provider of educational ... is pleased to announce the launch of a new scholarship for young scientists seeking ... This merit-based scholarship is open to all high school seniors, 17 years or older; ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... , ... February 22, 2017 , ... ... the addition of Tom Perkins as European director. Operating from Pennside’s Zurich headquarters, ... Pennside. , Perkins joins Pennside after more than a decade with leading ...
Breaking Biology Technology: