July 26, 2008

Peak Metals

Robert Silverberg holds forth on the rapidly declining reserves of Gallium and other rare but useful metals.

Over at Ars Technica, Ethan Gutman has an analysis of this and concludes that the situation is, unsurprisingly, neither as dire as the  worst predictions, nor as rosy as the more pollyanish takes on this have been.

Ultimately this planet has limited resources. However, even putting aside the obvious merits of recycling, Mercury is likely to be exceedingly rich in heavy metals and most other things we need for an industrial civilization can  be found in some abundance from the moon to the outer planets.  There is no reason to panic, but there is one more reason to work towards cheap access to space.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 02:41 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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1 The problem here is, mining will not drive development of CRATS in any form until the situation is really dire. Secondly, the lead time on the space infrastructure is decades at best. Investors simply cannot plan that far. So, we have a problem of bootstrapping. No matter what happens to rare metals, the space transport is not going to be developed without a near application (such as tourism). We have a perverse situation where luxury jaunts for multi-billonaires may be key for civilization's survival.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Sat Jul 26 15:50:59 2008 (/ppBw)

2 Yep.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Sat Jul 26 19:07:56 2008 (V5zw/)

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