Known economically workable deposits will be exhausted in 2025
Remaining workable deposits are estimated at 180 million tonnes.
June 2008: at current rates of production, 10.5 million tonnes per year, deposits will last 17 years.
Extractable deposits of this metal will therefore disappear for good in 2025.
Most of this information comes from the USGS (United States Geological Service) http://minerals.usgs.gov/
Note that the figures quoted in our study are contested by a website which estimates that zinc reserves could last 55 years, so that this element would run out in 2063.
However problems arising from its disappearance will start to make themselves felt well before any of these fateful dates.
Of course, there will still be zinc in the ground, but in extremely diluted form, rendering extraction impossible.
Nearly half of world zinc production goes into the galvanisation of steel. The rest is used in the manufacture of brass and other alloys.
In fact, zinc is also used for water purification, thus contributing to the solution of one of the greatest environmental problems facing our planet. Similarly, recyclable air-zinc batteries used in electric vehicles play their part in improving air quality in our cities. Zinc is also used in pharmaceutical and cosmetic products, particularly for skin-care and protection from the effects of the sun. Zinc is an essential constituent of fertilisers for improving crop yields. It is around us every day, in our homes, household electrical goods, tools, toys, offices, computers, cars, trains, aeroplanes, etc.
Even if, thanks to advances in technology, we find new deposits by digging deeper and deeper into the Earth's crust, this will afford us only a few years' reprieve and will not make a major impact on the situation.
Zinc was created when a star exploded and the Sun and the Earth were formed from the debris, over five billion years ago.
You cannot produce it artificially and there is no substitute. The Moon and the asteroids do not contain the metal in an extractable form. And just imagine the energy it would take to bring some back from Mars or Venus!
At present, about 30% of world zinc consumption comes from recycling, partly recovered from industrial losses such as manufacturing off-cuts, residues from galvanisation plants, dust deposits and furnace ash. It is difficult to estimate with any precision the proportion of zinc recovered, owing to the very long service life of many zinc-based products, over 100 years in some cases. Nevertheless, based on historical consumption data and product life-cycles, it is estimated that 80% of zinc presently available could well have been recycled, and this figure is likely to increase with the technological advances made in the field of recycling.It is also worth noting that zinc can be recycled indefinitely with no effect on its physical or chemical properties. It is thus a recoverable and durable resource for future generations.
There will still be recycling but demand, which will keep growing exponentially with the development of the emerging economies, will far outstrip supply.
Australia possesses 24% of known reserves, China 18% and Peru 10%.
Source: Science et Vie (Science and Life), special edition No. 243, Construire un monde durable (Building a sustainable world), June 2008.
To learn more about zinc, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zinc
Translation Nicholas ROSE
We don't tend to think much of it but without galvanized steel, we couldn't build sky scrapers, cars or most appliances increasingly needed for our modern lifestyles.
Galvanized steel is a mix of iron and carbon dunked into a melting bath of zinc. Zinc allows for a durable protection against corrosion. Thus, 76 years on, the Empire State Building is still standing. Without the humble zinc, its iron frame would have rusted long ago and the 102 floors of one of the highest american buildings would have collapsed into a heap of rubble.
We have just been informed that zinc mines will be globally exhausted by 2025, at the same time as gold and indium. So, in just 17 years, no more tall cities, no more motors, no more machines, no more robots?
By 2012, we'll just have time to build Al Buri in Dubaï, standing at 855 meters high and a few other international megapolis' prides and joys. Then zilch! No more metal resources. We're in for a big come down!
Is this possible? The programed beginning of the end for civilization as we know it 25 years before the end of oil! What a scoop.
Here is a news that isn't shouted from the rafters, so that we can mindlessly continue to consume til the last drop, for the benefit of a few.
Are you sure, dear friends, that we've only got one generation to learn to live differently, to adapt to progressive shortages of virtually everything?
Shouldn't we start today to anticipate for the long term and consider future generations, shouldn't we recycle everything, stop squandering and stealing form our children and grand-children?
Before it has all gone for centuries to come........
Michel Walter for terresacree.org (Sacred Earth), le 11 08 2008.
Translation Patou Soult 8/09/08
Free of copyright with website : https://www.terresacree.org
To extend on the same theme : UPON REFLECTION of Michel Walter, the scheduled termination of the civilization of waste
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