Society need mineral resources

The smooth running of modern society depends upon abundant supplies of mineral raw resources. For the foreseeable future, most of this supply must be extracted from the ground.

In the course of a lifetime, each one of us will have consumed on average nearly 500 kilograms of copper. This corresponds to 50 tons of ore. Norway's current population will therefore consume 275 million tons of copper, which represents at least 100 million tons per generation. This amount is equivalent to more than three times the overall production of the mines of Løkken, which were in operation for 333 years. It is unrealistic to imagine that over the next 50 years we will be able to excavate all the copper we need.

In Norway, almost two billion tons of rock must be crushed to satisfy this generation's demand for gold. This amount of rock corresponds to a ten kilometre deep hole, the size of ten football fields! This represents the amount of aggregates that will be used by each generation for the construction roads, railway tracks and concrete.

Video: This animation film entitled "From the stone age to the mining industry" shows how we surround ourselves with mineral raw materials in everyday life.

So, it's not a small amount of rock that must be extracted and processed each year to maintain the society we know.

Iron, copper, zinc and alloy metals are crucial to industrializing any society. Therefore, areas of the world that are now transitioning from developing to industrialized societies, exhibit a rapidly growing demand for raw minerals. China has been a leader in this development for a number of years, while India, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia as well as parts of Africa are on their way.

Complicated electronic products require many chemical elements with different qualities. Up to 50 different elements must be extracted from various deposits, to produce a modern mobile phone.  This sometime creates challenging situations. Challenges emerge due to the various State and private monopolies over supply. To minimize conflict, the European Union has labelled a specific group of raw minerals as 'critical'. Critical minerals and elements are those that may be running out and are especially crucial for modern society. Electric cars and wind turbines, for example, cannot be produced without the certain rare earth metals, most of which are today supplied only by China.

The shift toward environmentally-friendly green energy depends upon mineral resources. A modern wind turbine easily contains 300 tonnes of metal. Solar panels need pure quartz to function while their batteries need rare earth metals.

Mineralske råstoffer i bruk
Mineral raw resources in use.