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Unit 1 Env Awareness Unit 2 Env Assessment
Unit 3 Env Practice

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Indirect Impacts - 1 Raw Materials

The main environmental concerns of raw materials are how long supplies can last. In the year 2000, there is no important metal in danger of being exhausted.

However, minerals such as lead, tin, tungsten and zinc will soon be in short supply.

This is in spite of efficient recovery and recycling methods.

All our minerals are finite resources so the future availability of them depends upon three factors - the size of existing supplies, the rate these supplies are being depleted, and the finding of new supplies.

It is this rate of extraction that makes them finite - not the minerals themselves.

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Mineral extraction both from open-cast and deep mining has severe impacts on the environment, including the destruction of ecosystems, subsidence and erosion of the land, the creation of waste and spoil heaps of contaminated land, causing poisons to enter water courses, and causing serious health problems.

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2002 Edition