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.
is this rate of extraction that makes them finite - not the
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.
for more information on minerals