Which minerals are real resources
Natural resources are something like nature's treasures. The French word resource actually means nothing more than aids. But that is rather a gross understatement for these components of nature. Because they are actually of inestimable value and significant economic benefits for humans. In addition to marine animals and trees, which are also considered natural resources, raw materials such as coal, ores, rocks and water are the basis for countless products and even entire branches of industry. These resources, made available by nature free of charge, so to speak, which in themselves represent valuable goods and goods or which can be processed into them, are the basis of our prosperity.
In 2009, over 68 billion tons of raw materials were used worldwide, around twice as many as 30 years earlier. This means that the world's population needs and uses more and more of these natural resources. Since it is assumed that by the year 2050 the population will rise from the current seven to nine billion people and because economic development is advancing rapidly in many countries, the consumption of these raw materials will continue to rise sharply.
However, this poses special challenges. On the one hand, many of the resources are limited, because at some point a coal deposit, an ore mine or a quarry will be exhausted, so they will be used up. Some are almost consumed today. Some important raw materials, such as petroleum, cobalt and rare earths, occur only in very few places on earth. This means that the supply of these raw materials is unstable and the prices for them therefore fluctuate very strongly. This is very problematic for companies and countries that depend on such raw materials, because they cannot plan reliably with them. Germany is one of those countries that use a lot of raw materials and, apart from coal, building materials and minerals such as potash, hardly have their own raw materials.
On the other hand, wherever raw materials are extracted and processed, the environment is badly affected - especially when the methods for extracting raw materials are outdated and not very environmentally friendly. In the process, harmful greenhouse gases can be released or pollutants can get into the air, water and soil - a threat to animals, plants and landscapes. If you are looking for an example of incorrect handling of our natural resources and fatal side effects, then take a look at the page on the dangers for the oceans.
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