Comprehensive Essay on the Mineral and Energy Resources

The renewable energy sources include solar energy, energy from biomass, wind energy, hydro-electric power, and geothermal energy. Additional renewable energy sources include tidal power, ocean thermal energy conversion, and hydrogen.

In the year 2010, world energy consumption increased by 49 percent, or 1.4 percent per year, from 495 quadrillion Btu5 in 2007 to 739 quadrillion Btu in 2035. The global economic recession that began in 2008 and continued into 2009 had a profound impact on world income (as measured by GDP) and energy use.

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After expanding at an average annual rate of 4.9 percent from 2003 to 2007, worldwide GDP growth slowed to 3.0 percent in 2008 and contracted by 1.0 percent in 2009. Similarly, growth in world energy use slowed to 1.2 percent in 2008 and then declined by an estimated 2.2% in 2009.

In terms of energy production, the most dynamic changes during the last three decades of the last century have been in nuclear energy. No other source of electricity increased by an amount closer to it (1400%).

Table 12.3: Production of Electricity from Nuclear Energy in 2007:

Country ProducerPercentage of World Total
United States29.2
France16.3
Japan11
Germany5.9
Russia5.4
South Korea5.3
Canada3.3
Ukraine3.3
United Kingdom3
Sweden2.6
Rest of the World14.7

One thing of importance to be noted is that high energy density (i.e., total primary energy consumption per unit of GDP) does not lead to development.

The metal resources of late have become very important. The competition for the metals and mineral reserves has increased. Thus, it is strategically very important to evaluate scale of current operations.

With regard to aluminium, production facilities are not located in the countries with large amounts of the mineral for aluminium, i.e., bauxite. China has replaced Russia as the leading producer of this metal. However, China has to import as well as the demand is greater than the production.

Chile, US, Peru, Australia, Indonesia, China, Russia, Canada, Zambia, Poland, Kazakhstan, Mexico are the countries with mine production and reserves of copper in the world. Leading consumers of this non-ferrous metal are China, followed by the EU, US, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

In case of nickel, Russia, Canada, Australia, Indonesia, New Caledonia are the five largest mine producing countries in the world. The total world production is around 1.55 million tonnes, whereas the reserves are expected to be around 64 million tonnes. Australia has the biggest reserves (24 million tonnes).

Congo has the largest reserve of cobalt and also the largest producer of cobalt (22,000). World production is around 57,500 MT and the reserves are expected to be around 7 million tonnes. The US is the largest consumer.

In the year 2006, China became the largest producer of refined cobalt. Cobalt’s production per ton of raw material being very low, extraction is much more expensive and requires very sophisticated technologies. Regulatory instructions also add to the cost.

A global shortage of platinum-group metals will have serious strategic implications for several major industries of the emerging economies. The metals in this group include platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium, and osmium.

These metals are very useful for use in production of catalytic converters for environment friendly technologies and engines. These metals are also used for removing organic vapours, odours, and carbon monoxide.

Only five countries—US, Canada, Columbia, Russia, and South Africa—are the major producers of these metals. The production of mine production of platinum, palladium in 2006 was 232,000 kilograms and 222,000 kilograms. In some of the countries, platinum is also used for jewellery industry.

Gold has now crossed all the price limits. It is around $1400 per troy ounce in 2011. Historically, gold is rare because of the poverty of precious yellow metal in gold mines. Despite all the difficulties, the world gold production managed to grow for centuries; it multiplied by 4 in 100 years.

But since 2001, the miraculous growth of world gold production appears to have peaked. There is considerable shift in the gold producers. China has overtaken South Africa as number one country in 2009. The major gold producers were China, Australia, US, South Africa, Russia, Peru, Canada, and Indonesia.

The highest production of gold was 2600 MT in 2001, whereas in 2009 it was 2350 MT. Most of the countries keep gold in their reserves. US have 261.5 million of troy ounces in Fort Knox and other vaults around the country. Gold production is a very sensitive and often secretive issue.

Some other important metals, like titanium and molybdenum, and some minerals such as metallic uranium, which may be in shortage in future. Australia is the continent with the world’s largest uranium reserves. Canada is the largest exporter of Uranium Ore.

Mexico is the largest silver exporter in the world. Earlier diamonds were found only in alluvial deposits of southern India. At present Diamond deposits are also found in Africa, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Congo. The most common element found on earth is Iron.

The five largest producers of iron ore are China, Brazil, Australia, Russia and India. These five countries account for about 70% of the world’s iron ore production. Huge chunk of Gold supply comes from South Africa. Canada, United States and Western Australia are also major producers of gold.

Interestingly, the world’s oceans also hold vast amounts of gold. Copper-ore can be found in Chile, Mexico, United States, Indonesia, Australia, Peru, Russia, Canada, China, Poland and Kazakhstan.

Oil reserves can be found in Canada, United States, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. Bauxite reserves are found in Australia, Brazil, Guinea, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Russia, Suriname, United States and Venezuela.