hLe 19 septembre 2006 : Un travail bénévole de S. M. que nous remercions vivement.

TOUT EN BAS! Ascenseur express


Iron : known economically workable deposits will be exhausted in 2087



The dreaded    billbook that shatters the man in the  street

2012 : end of terbium
2018 :
end of hafnium
2021 :
end of silver
end of gold
end of zinc
2028 :
end of tin
2139 : end of aluminium
2158 : end of coal

When will beans run out?

It seems laughable to announce the end of iron in 2087 and of nickel in 2048, when our planet is composed of an outer core of molten iron and nickel.

But just imagine the 6,378 kilometre deep hole we"d need to pierce through the Earth"s crust then the mantle of molten lava and finally the outer core, when the deepest oil exploration drilling operations in the world (at the Russian site of East Sakhalin-1) have attained a mere 11.68 kilometres.

No technology, however advanced, will ever be able to withstand the extreme pressure (about 370 GPa) and temperature (over 1200°C), involved in syphoning molten iron or nickel from the earth"s outer core (the internal core probably being solid)

Iron is a chemical element, with symbol Feand atomic number 26

This metal is the eighteenth non-renewable resource set to disappear thanks to intensive exploitation by mankind.

Remaining workable deposits are estimated at 150 billion tonnes of iron ore.

June 2008: at current rates of production, 1.9 billion tonnes per year, deposits will last 79 years.

Extractable deposits of iron will therefore disappear for good in 2087.

This information comes mainly from the USGS (United States Geological Service) http://minerals.usgs.gov/

This date is only a rough indication. Sources differ, and it could change with the evolution of our civilisation.

99% of world production goes into the making of steel used to manufacture all our machines, vehiculs, robots, buildings, etc.

Problems arising from its disappearance will start to make themselves felt well before this fateful date. On this subject, see Hubbert"s peak theory: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

Of course, there will still be iron in the ground, but in extremely diluted form, rendering extraction impossible.

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.

Iron 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. Some asteroids contain the metal but just imagine the energy it would take to bring some back!

Note that iron (6%) could be extracted from polymetallic nodules present on the ocean floor, at depths of several kilometres. The total quantity of polymetallic nodules on the ocean bed was estimated at over 500 billion tonnes by A.A. Archer in 1981. However, given the depths at which they occur, these deposits are not profitably recoverable.

In 10 to 15 years"time, though, mineral iron extraction from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean could quite possibly become reality. Russia is already planning to go ahead with experimental extraction from 2011 to 2020 and, after these tests, proceed rapidly with the industrial exploitation of a zone in the Pacific Ocean. But international organisations for the protection of the natural environment refuse to sanction the exploitation of these sea-bed deposits without guarantees for the ecological safety of the ocean.

There will still be recycling but demand, which will keep growing exponentially with the development of the emerging economies, will far outstrip supply.

The Ukraine possesses 20% of known reserves, Russia 17%, China 14%, Brazil 11% and Australia 11%.

To learn more about iron, see: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fer

Translation Nicholas ROSE




Don"t miss reading Point of view by Michel Walter , a programme for the end of our civilisation of wastage.

S. M., le 23 janvier 2007

Bonobo : Qu'est-ce que c'est que ce binz? Anne Esperet

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