Current situations of mineral resources
Mineral resources, which are formed through geological changes of millions of years or even hundreds of millions of years, are extremely important natural resources of our earth. There are more than 4000 known minerals in nature, but only less than 200 kinds of minerals. More than 95% of energies, 80% of the industrial raw materials and 70% of agricultural production means currently used by human beings come from mineral resources.
The excessive extraction and unreasonable development and utilization of mineral resources which are limited and non-renewable will certainly lead to the exhaustion of resources and the unsustainability of human civilization.
2016 data showed that static recoverable oil reserves having been explored in the world can still be mined for 40 years. This data is calculated by dividing global static reserves by annual consumption. There is some deviation in the data because the static reserves and consumption are different from year to year but roughly they are roughly the same.
The number of minable years for 30 common mineral resources is listed here and others are shown as follows:
Natural gas: 64 years, coal: 226 years, iron: 150 years, uranium: 110 years, manganese: 97 years, chromium: 257 years, nickel: 46 years, cobalt: 166 years, tungsten: 64 years, molybdenum: 42 years, vanadium: 233 years, copper: 26 years, lead: 10 years, zinc: 22 years, bauxite: 192 years, tin: 44 years, antimony: 24 years, gold: 18 years, silver: 16 years, lithium: 242 years, sulfur: 24 years, phosphate: 79 years, potash: 316 years, boron: 38 years, barite: 26 years, graphite: 22 years, gypsum: 21 years, asbestos: 126 years, diamond: 6 years.
These are the statistics for 2016. If things go like this, future generations will have no resources to use.