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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5467/mining-for-the-next-million-years/

Mining for the Next Million Years

August 14, 2006 by

For many years, I’ve been pointing out that the entire mass of the earth, from the upper limits of its atmosphere 4,000 miles straight down to its core, consists of nothing but solidly packed chemical elements. There is not one cubic centimeter anywhere in the earth’s mass that is not some chemical element or other, or some combination of chemical elements. This, I’ve said, is nature’s contribution to the supply of natural resources, along with all of the enormous quantities of energy that go with it, from the energy contained in fossil fuels, uranium, wind, water, and the earth’s core to the energy contained in thunderstorms and static electricity.

How much of this immense quantity of matter and energy can be transformed into the narrower category of natural resources that are economically useable by and accessible to man depends on the state of science, technology, and supply of capital equipment. In other words, it depends on the extent of man’s knowledge of nature and the degree of his physical power over it. As man enlarges this knowledge and power, he increases the fraction of nature that constitutes economically useable, accessible natural resources. In the process, he transforms what had up to then been mere nature-given things into economic goods and wealth.

I’ve also always pointed out that up to now our power over nature—our ability to actually get at its contents and direct them to the satisfaction of our needs—has been measured in depths of feet rather than miles and has essentially been confined just to the thirty percent or so of the earth’s surface that is land. The clear implication is that we are still at the very beginning of our ability extract economically useable natural resources from nature.

I’ve now gathered some empirical data that indicates just how modest man’s mining activities actually are compared to the size of the earth. For example, total global production of petroleum is approximately 30 billion barrels per year. Each barrel of petroleum measures approximately .16 of a cubic meter. This means that in terms of cubic meters, the physical volume of all the petroleum extracted in the world in a year is .16 times 30 billion, which is 4.8 billion cubic meters. Since a thousand meters equals 1 kilometer, a billion cubic meters translates into a mere 1 cubic kilometer. So the physical volume of total annual global petroleum production is presently 4.8 cubic kilometers. And because 1 cubic mile equals approximately 4.17 cubic kilometers, this means that all of the world’s petroleum production in a year represents about 1.15 cubic miles.

All by itself, this is enough to suggest that total global mining operations are extremely small relative to the size of the earth, which is 1.1 trillion cubic kilometers, or approximately 260 billion cubic miles. This conclusion is confirmed when one considers the global annual production of other important minerals, such as iron ore, coal, aluminum, and natural gas.

Global iron ore production was approximately 1.16 billion metric tons in 2003, the most recent year for which data are readily available. The density of iron ore varies between approximately 4 metric tons per cubic meter and 5 metric tons per cubic meter, depending on the type of ore. The smaller the number of metric tons per cubic meter, the larger the number of cubic meters required for any given tonnage. Using the lower figure of 4 metric tons per cubic meter, the total cubic volume of iron ore production in 2003 would be 291 million cubic meters, which is .291 cubic kilometers or .07 cubic miles. Because much of the iron ore extracted had a higher density, the actual physical volume of iron ore extracted was considerably less.

Global coal production in 2004 was 2.73 billion metric tons. Since the density of coal is roughly 1.3 metric tons per cubic meter, the physical volume of the coal extracted was about 2.1 cubic kilometers, or about .5 of a cubic mile.

Global aluminum production in 2001 was 32 million metric tons. The production of 1 ton of aluminum requires the mining of 4 to 6 tons of bauxite. Thus 32 million tons of aluminum production implies the mining of as much as 192 million tons of bauxite. Inasmuch as the density of bauxite is 1.28 metric tons per cubic meter, the cubic volume of the total amount of bauxite mined in 2001 was 150 million cubic meters. This in turn equals .15 cubic kilometers, or less than .04 of a cubic mile.

Global dry natural gas production in 2004 was approximately 98.62 trillion cubic feet, which equals 2,774 cubic kilometers. To put this figure in perspective, it should be realized that when liquefied, the volume of natural gas is reduced by a factor of 600. Thus the equivalent of this much gas in liquid form is 4.62 cubic kilometers, or little over 1.1 cubic miles. This, of course, is somewhat less than the cubic volume of petroleum production.

If we add up these numbers, they total 11.43 cubic kilometers or 2.86 cubic miles. To allow both for the mining of everything else and for any extractions we may have overlooked in connection with the items we’ve considered, let’s just assume the nice round number of 100 cubic kilometers or roughly 24 cubic miles as representing all current mining operations combined on an annual basis for the world as a whole.

In a tolerably free, rational society, motivated human intelligence is easily capable not only of continuing man’s ability to extract this volume of useful materials from the earth but also substantially to increase it. If the present annual volume of such extractions were merely to continue, it could do so at least for the next 100 million years. By that time, a total of 10 billion cubic kilometers or roughly 2.4 billion cubic miles of earth would have been extracted, which would represent a little less than 1 percent of the earth’s total physical volume. If economic progress in coming centuries serves to increase the annual rate of extractions by a factor of 100, then mining operations could continue on that vastly larger scale for a million years, before 1 percent of the earth’s volume had been extracted. The exhaustion of useable, accessible mineral deposits is simply not a problem for an economy as free as that of the United States was until a few generations ago.

Our growing problems in connection with the supply of natural resources are not caused by nature but by us. We have allowed ourselves to abandon our reason and give up our freedom. We have allowed ourselves to be led by people who would have us freeze and be immobilized rather than spill some oil on snow hardly any of us will ever see or disturb the habitat of wild animals that mean nothing to us. If we allow this to continue, then where we are headed is to a world describable by these terrible words of despair:

You must know that the world has grown old, and does not remain in its former vigour. It bears witness to its own decline. The rainfall and the sun’s warmth are both diminishing; the metals are nearly exhausted; the husbandman is failing in the fields, the sailor on the seas, the soldier in the camp, honesty in the market, justice in the courts, concord in friendships, skill in the arts, discipline in morals. This is the sentence passed upon the world, that everything which has a beginning should perish, that things which have reached maturity should grow old, the strong weak, the great small, and that after weakness and shrinkage should come dissolution.[1]

As I wrote in Capitalism, that passage is not a quotation from some contemporary ecologist or conservationist. It was written in the third century—long before the first chunk of coal, drop of oil, ounce of aluminum, or any significant quantity of any mineral whatever had been taken from the earth. Then as now, the problem was not physical, but philosophical and political. Then as now, men were turning away from reason and toward mysticism. Then as now, they were growing less free and falling ever more under the rule of physical force. That is why they believed, and that is why people in our culture are beginning to believe, that man is helpless before physical nature. There is no helplessness in fact. To men who use reason and are free to act, nature gives more and more. To those who turn away from reason or are not free, it gives less and less. Nothing else is involved.

[1] The passage quoted above appears In W. T. Jones, The Medieval Mind, vol. 2 of A History of Western Philosophy, 2d ed. (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1969), p. 6.

This article is copyright © 2006, by George Reisman. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce and distribute it electronically and in print, other than as part of a book and provided that mention of the author’s web site www.capitalism.net is included. (Email notification is requested.) All other rights reserved. George Reisman is the author of Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics (Ottawa, Illinois: Jameson Books, 1996) and is Pepperdine University Professor Emeritus of Economics.

{ 12 comments }

Jim Fedako August 14, 2006 at 7:27 pm

Great article. One point that is sometimes missed is that capital is required to access those minerals. Even those minerals that fill my hand when planting trees are not always easily extractable. Go farther underground or deeper into the oceans and the need for capital goods to extract minerals becomes obvious. The real problem is that though we fear that we are running out of minerals, such as oil, we look to government to tax profits and capital from investments in mineral producing sectors. A pathetic response to the problem, but the only one than can make it so that we live the paraphrased quote from O’Neill, “it is horrible to be dying of cold with oil so near.”

David August 15, 2006 at 3:23 am

Nicely put Mr Reisman.

Speaking of oil, I was struck by a table accompanying an article in last week’s The Economist ( ‘Really Big Oil’, I think it was called, but that might have been a sub-heading…..). While the tireless litany against the Nasty Capitalist Oil Companies saturates the media daily, the table showed a startling picture: The overwhelming majority of the world’s largest oil companies are purely State-controlled. Indeed, the largest privately-owned oil company barely made it into the bottom of the list: Compared to any of these Behemoths, Exxon’s share of the oil sector is a teensy little sliver. And familiar names like Shell and BP dont even rate a mention.

anarkhos August 15, 2006 at 6:37 pm

I don’t see the point of this article at all. The volume of mined minerals is totally irrelevant and misleading. Aluminum, for example, is practically everywhere in the earth’s crust. What is needed to extract it is lots and lots of energy. As for where to get that energy, Reisman seems to imply that we just have to mine more of it when in fact the discovery of new sources of rock oil has been dropping for decades, implying there is simply less out there to find. It’s not like oil is evenly distributed in the earth’s crust. Finally we shouldn’t buy into the myth that the total quantity of such minerals is in any way important with respect to economic growth. Indeed, the future points to growth not in additional mining, but in technologies allowing existing resources to be more efficiently used.

Pretty crappy article IMO.

Philip Coates August 16, 2006 at 1:11 am

Reisman doesn’t spell every step of this out, since this is only one (short) essay, but when the amount of a mineral or product extracted is on the order of a cubic mile out of the enormous size of this planet, it suggests that one ought to be able to marshall the intelligence, the capital, the technological and cost advances to extract many more cubic miles while still staying relatively close to the surface of the planet.

Focus on how -small- an extraction a cubic mile is compared to the size of the planet, how it is literally only scratching the surface.

He wrote another essay pointing out that all the environmental restrictions are what prevent us from extracting “the next mile” not any physical or cost or ingenuity limits.

This article should be integrated with that one by the attentive reader.

Sione Vatu August 16, 2006 at 3:48 am

anarkhos

Put brain in gear. Do a little thinking.

There is plenty of energy resource available with vastly more yet to be discovered and exploited, same as with minerals. Read the article again. Do some research.

Here is an example, consider that it would only take 50 square kilometres of solar-thermal panels to produce enough superheated steam to generate sufficient electricity to supply the entire continent of Australia and all its industries and all its households. Ever bothered to work out how many square kms the Australian island-continent actually is? 50 square kms is nothing. But perhaps solar is not the way to go.

Here is another alternative instead. There are engineers presently experimenting with generation of electricity by exploiting wave power in Victoria, Australia. Do you have any idea how much energy they can potentially extract from the Tasman Sea? Or perhaps that’s not the way to go either.

What about another alternative? There is another group of engineers in central Australia who have been able to generate superheated steam from hot rocks deep underground. They reckon they have enough of a heat source down there to power everything on the continent for the next couple of hundred years at least.

Or perhaps you could go and visit the German techo blokes who are in the process of building a “power tower” to generate electricity in the Australian outback. They are banking on the air temperature differential between ground level air and the air several hundreds of metres up. They are about to build a tower to generate a few megawatts and also provide a useful greenhouse for commercial crops at ground level.

Then there is all the coal mining. There is several hundred years of that stuff.

Plenty of gas.

And you may care to know that around 90% of the oil under stripper wells is still there waiting. Reckon no-one will ever work out how to get at that stuff? Never is a long, long time.

Whichever method/s are ultimately successful, they will be selected because they generate ROI and good profit. In other words, a wealth generator.

I could go on and on and on and on with plenty more examples. You see that’s the business I’m in. Start-ups. New technology. New ideas. Opportunities. Entrepeneurs. People who do things.

I loathe all those moaning sky-is-falling no-brain nothings who run about moaning about how there’s nothing left for them and how the world is doomed and that there is this big, bad problem out there. So get real man! There is an opportunity for you to produce something. The planet is really, really, really big. I kid you not. There are plenty of resources just waiting. It is awesome how much there is. Start by finding out what the opportunities are.

To conclude, there are plenty of energy sources, just as there are plenty of minerals. Reisman has it spot on.

Sione

TokyoTom August 17, 2006 at 6:37 am

Dr. Reisman, I agree with most of this post – we are certainly not in any risk of running out of minerals or ingenuity, which is after all our principal resource.

However, I remain puzzled by your persistent refusal to recognize (1) the property rights failures that underlie environmental problems as well as (2) the statism that corrupts creative solutions and which perpetuates the complaints of those who either (a) suffer uncompensated property damages caused by others or (b) are concerned about the consequences to general welfare. Your failure to look at the underpinnings of environmental and resource problems – which can be rationally understood from an Austrian perspective – leads directly to your rather silly, out-of-breath and irrational hand-wringing:

Our growing problems in connection with the supply of natural resources are not caused by nature but by us. We have allowed ourselves to abandon our reason and give up our freedom. We have allowed ourselves to be led by people who would have us freeze and be immobilized rather than spill some oil on snow hardly any of us will ever see or disturb the habitat of wild animals that mean nothing to us. If we allow this to continue, then where we are headed is to a world describable by these terrible words of despair: … now, men were turning away from reason and toward mysticism. Then as now, they were growing less free and falling ever more under the rule of physical force. That is why they believed, and that is why people in our culture are beginning to believe, that man is helpless before physical nature.

We have natural resource problems because everywhere governments interfere with private ownership of those resources – including through expensive and senseless wars, through “public” ownership, and through regulation that has been designed to or twisted to help special and favored interests at the expense of others.

These causes are rather clear, and can be laid at the feet of phenomena that Austrians are quite familiar with, so there’s no need to blame environmental bugbears, a loss of reason or what-have-you. If we got the government out of the land ownership business, stopped subsidies to resource exploitation and better enforced property rights – including strictly enforcing rights to be free from the pollution of others, many of our resources “problems” would be readily resolved.

There are of course some rather difficult problems relating to large so-called “public goods”, or resources that are unownded, commonly owned or publicly owned, where ineffective property rights lead to over-exploitation, such as fisheries, natural forests and tropical reefs, water resources and the atmosphere. Still, these problems can be analyzed and effective solutions worked towards, and crying about the abandonment of our reason or surrender of our freedom to those who would freeze us or enslave us hardly contributes to finding meaningful policy prescriptions.

On this, perhaps you and your readers here might review the work of Roy Cordato here – http://mises.org/daily/1760 – or the two organizations founded by John Baden (Mount Pelerin Society member): FREE: http://www.free-eco.org/about.php and PERC: http://www.perc.org/about.php?id=700.

Let me close by quoting you: “There is no helplessness in fact. To men who use reason and are free to act, nature gives more and more. To those who turn away from reason or are not free, it gives less and less. Nothing else is involved.”

I agree completely, and urge more reason and less helplessness.

Sincerely,

That environmentalist who hides behind the name
TokyoTom

Vincent Cook August 17, 2006 at 5:19 pm

I must respectfully dissent from Dr. Reisman’s thesis that because the volume of useful materials extracted from the earth is only a tiny fraction of the earth’s volume, we have nothing to worry about in the extractive natural resource sector for millions of years.

One obvious problem is that for every cubic kilometer of useful minerals, metals and hydrocarbons present in the earth’s crust, there are many thousands of cubic kilometers that aren’t useful to us. The great achievement of capitalism in this context has been simply to find, remove and purify useful materials amid vast quantities of useless dirt and rock. It’s not as if vast volumes of materials near the earth’s surface have been unexplored; it’s just that we’ve discovered that most of this volume isn’t particularly useful to us.

Another problem with Dr. Reisman’s argument is that, in the absence of sufficient energy inputs from elsewhere, inherent physical limitations will prevent us from ever extracting all of the useful materials present within the earth. It takes definite quantities of energy to fight against entropy and against gravity; meaning that digging holes in the ground (and securing such holes against temperatures that soar enormously as one digs deeper and deeper) and bringing materials to the surface (working against gravity) is not going to get signficantly easier in terms of energy inputs even with future advances in technology. The escalation of energy costs as one goes deeper can’t be avoided. Likewise, there are unavoidable energy costs that escalate as one tries to purify increasingly lower grade deposits.

Insofar as we rely on energy sources that are themselves derived from geological deposits, then we must face the fact that long before we actually exhaust such deposits altogether, we will run out of deposits that can function as net energy sources.

The basic issue with the peak oil scenario isn’t that our geological cupboard is bare; it is indeed the case that we only have begun to scratch the surface of the planet. The basic issue rather is that we lack the capacity to do more than just scratch the surface a little bit more without vast energy inputs from somewhere else.

For example, most of the tar sands of Alberta (widely touted as an alternative to Saudi Arabia as a source of vast quantities of oil) are in fact not viable as a self-contained net source of energy. For most of Alberta tar sands, it will require several Arabia’s worth of energy just to get the tar sands (mostly to strip off layers of soil above it and transport it to processing centers), to get rid of the sand component (separating the sand from the tar and disposing of the waste sand), and to turn the tar into useful petroleum products (the tar undergoing an energy-consuming chemical reaction). Alberta tar sands offer us an opportunity to transform other kinds of energy into oil, but for the most part they are not actually a net source of energy that will replace other soon-to-be depleted net energy sources to any signficant extent.

Much the same story is true with respect to other proposed oil replacements, such as conversion of shale or coal into oil or extraction via deep off-shore wells, etc. The energy inputs required are just too high relative to the energy produced for these to be viable.

Meanwhile, the discoveries of more conventional sources of oil have been falling off preciptously for some thirty or forty years. The previously discovered sources in current production are now getting past their prime. Even worse, OPEC governments have been lying to us concerning how much oil is left in their fields; tricking market actors into overconsuming oil for a couple of decades.

Frankly, it is not all that wise a move for economists to pose as experts in disputes about geology. If one is going to join such a debate, however, it would help at least to try to understand and intellectually engage oneself with what the geologists have been saying, and not indulge in fanciful and meaningless calculations of relative volumes that have no real bearing on the issue. It would be far better to make the point that to the extent there is a exhaustion problem with a given natural resource, capitalism is essential for us to make the best use of the remaining stock of the resource and to find substitutes or otherwise enable us to make the best of living without the resource.

David J. Heinrich August 17, 2006 at 5:33 pm

Vincent,

The problem isn’t economists talking about geology. Everyone knows that not every mineral in the Earth is particularly useful (there’s a whole lot of useless dirt).

However, Geoligists panicking over the impeding natural resource crisis don’t seem to know squat about economics. They confuse physical things with economic goods. They don’t understand economic scarcity, and incentives. All they do is rely on current trends, and current estimates of how much oil there is, or whatever. The problem is, they’ve been wrong — again, and again, and again, and again. How many times does the boy have to cry wolf before we don’t believe him anymore? The predictions of geologists about natural-resources crisis are less than worthless.

The reason their predictions are less than worthless is they don’t account for technological innovation, allowing us to more efficiently use a given physical resource, or allowing us to more efficiently extract that resource, or whatever.

Your discussion about the inevitable escalation of energy costs to extract resources from the Earth is just as bad. Quite frankly, you really don’t know how resources will be extracted from the Earth if we ever need to get to the very hot temperature areas. You don’t even know if we’ll ever have to dig that deep. Another alternative is the more efficient utilization of the resources more easily accessible. Or maybe by then, we’ll be drilling on the moon, or on asteroids, or who knows what.

And, of course, at some point, the enviro-whackos aren’t going to be able to hold civilization back any further. One can only imagine how much further along we’d be if not for the enviro-whacko-created scare about nuclear-power.

Vincent Cook August 18, 2006 at 3:04 pm

David,

Let’s consider each of your main points:

  1. Sure, everyone knows that there is a lot of useless dirt down there, but the point is that Dr. Reisman’s argument fails to take this into account. Geologists have explored a lot more of the near-surface volume than he gives them credit for.
  2. It is not true that geologists have always been wrong in their predictions. A Shell Oil researcher, M. King Hubbert, successfully predicted the peak in U.S. oil production over a decade in advance of the actual event. Hubbert’s model is based on real-world experience in exploiting oil fields, and its general validty hasn’t been undermined by advances in oil extraction technology.
  3. Technological innovations can’t trump the laws of physics any more than they can make socialist calculation possible. Such laws are just as absolute as any of the economic laws described in Human Action. As a supporter of Austrian economics, I find it embarassing that, in their zeal to gainsay everthing environmentalists say, some prominent Austrians feel obliged to argue that market incentives can make physical laws disappear. This doesn’t mean, by the way, that I claim to have any crystal ball that tells me with any great accuracy or precision what future technologies will be capable of. It just means that there are some physical problems that no amount of human ingenuity will ever be able to overcome; alchemical magic and perpetual motion machines just aren’t an option.
  4. We should be clear about what the issue is: Dr. Reisman seems to think he has a crystal ball, one that enables him to forsee that mining the earth will be economically viable for millions of years. However, given possibilities like asteroid mining (which you mentioned), significantly cheaper solar energy (which actually is going on the market soon), recycling of already-extracted materials, and perhaps nuclear fusion, why do we need ever more marginal deposits from the earth? Isn’t it obvious that as the energy costs of digging deeper, drilling deeper, and processing lower grade deposits increase, market incentives will push us in the direction of seeking cheaper substitutes, particular when net energy production is the desired output?
  5. There are indeed environmentalist wackos who are thwarting energy production. On the other hand, there are also large energy producers who enjoy various kinds of subsidies (notably in the form of armed aggression to grab and control other people’s resources) and exemptions from liability for harm resulting from pollution, radiation, etc. Free markets and private property in energy production would certainly be different than what we have today, but it is not clear whether nuclear fission plants or other traditional targets of the environmentalists would be the principal beneficiaries.

anarkhos August 20, 2006 at 2:22 pm

Sione, that’s quite a straw man you’ve constructed.

I didn’t say anything about the sky falling, I merely pointed out that Reisman’s facts are as irrelevant to the supply of minerals as the price of tea in China. Heck, I could argue that the price of tea in China is far more relevant. The price of tea would at least in some way indicate not merely the supply of land in square miles on which tea can be cultivated and thus the same limits, like energy, which play the primary role.

The hyperbole on this blog against recognizing any limits to energy extraction is embarassing.

This whole discussion reminds me of socialists who claim they can plan the economomy by measuring technical aspects of our environment! Surely Miseans know better!

Peter August 20, 2006 at 7:18 pm

Technological innovations can’t trump the laws of physics any more than they can make socialist calculation possible. Such laws are just as absolute as any of the economic laws described in Human Action.

Well, perhaps, but how do you know what those absolute laws are? If you’d been writing not much more than 100 years ago, you’d no doubt be saying todays common solar panels were impossible, since “technology can’t trump the laws of physics” – the photoelectric effect wasn’t a part of the known “laws of physics” at the time.

It just means that there are some physical problems that no amount of human ingenuity will ever be able to overcome; alchemical magic and perpetual motion machines just aren’t an option.

Depending on your definitions, both are quite possible (if extremely expensive and low yield) with existing technology, today.

Sione August 22, 2006 at 4:53 pm

anarkhos

Either you are wilfully ignorant or perhaps a dishonest person; probably both. Shame on you.

Let’s see what Prof Reisman wrote.

Quoting:
“There is not one cubic centimeter anywhere in the earth’s mass that is not some chemical element or other, or some combination of chemical elements. This, I’ve said, is nature’s contribution to the supply of natural resources, along with all of the enormous quantities of energy that go with it, from the energy contained in fossil fuels, uranium, wind, water, and the earth’s core to the energy contained in thunderstorms and static electricity.”

And then let’s look at your contention, which was:
“The volume of mined minerals is totally irrelevant and misleading. Aluminum, for example, is practically everywhere in the earth’s crust. What is needed to extract it is lots and lots of energy. As for where to get that energy, Reisman seems to imply that we just have to mine more of it when in fact the discovery of new sources of rock oil has been dropping for decades, implying there is simply less out there to find.”

This is wrong. So, lick your finger, put it on the screen and read what the Professor actually did write one word at a time. Try to understand what he is teaching you. When you get to this bit read it twice: “…along with all of the enormous quantities of energy that go with it, from the energy contained in fossil fuels, uranium, wind, water, and the earth’s core to the energy contained in thunderstorms and static electricity.” Do you get that?

Rock oil (!). Now, did he write that “rock oil” was the exclusive source of energy available to win aluminium (or any other material)? He didn’t. Go away and read what he wrote again. This time try very hard to understand what he is teaching you. His point is that there are vast untapped resources available ready for the taking and that includes all the energy necessary to mine and refine (and manufacture). All it takes is the mobilisation of human intellect, labour and wealth and it’s done. He warns that there is a barrier and that barrier is faulty ideas (such as the product of your shallow thinking). He describes some of these ideas and their effect.

As far as winning aluminium is concerned, you have no idea what you are on about. You really should do some research before exhibiting such pig ignorance mate. When I lived in New Zealand and worked at the aluminium smelter in Bluff (Tiwai Point) I saw first hand that the electricity consumed there was generated by a hydro-electric power station. Not “rock oil” but water (falling through a Francis radial inflow turbine one would surmise). Water and gravity. I understand a similar situation exists for many Canadian smelters and also for certain Scottish smelters and Norwegian smelters and no doubt there are others. So, does one need “rock oil” to win aluminium? No. There are other sources of energy fit for task and more are being developed. You really should do the research before exposing your profound foolishness.

Subsequent to your comments on the Professor’s essay I brought to your attention the vast array of energy resources available and even supplied a few examples of projects directed at winning energy from some of them. That list was not exhaustive. Energy is not running out. There isn’t even a shortage. There are some fantastic opportunities though. I did suggest you consider them as you may find some opportunities for improvement regarding your own situation (knowledge, wealth, productivity, adventure, enjoyment, self-worth). But no. You want to sit back and moan about non-problems lending support to those who obstruct the very efforts and labours that support your own standard of living. How loathsome.

To recap, energy, like minerals, is very common. There are many sources. As far as human beings are concerned energy is indeed limitless. For if there is a limit it isn’t going to be encountered by anyone for millions of years, if ever (unless, of course, the sky really does fall and the Sun gets extinguished in the ocean, as some may like to claim). All that is required is the method to extract the energy and put it to good use.

Sione

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