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Translations of Encyclopedia about Geology

 

Mineral Wealth

Mineral wealth is the natural occurrence of minerals, rock, or chemical compounds that might be economically exploited. It includes oil, natural gas, coal, salt, and ores.

People's need of large amounts of coal, gas, and oil is continually increasing, so that the growing population may maintain its high living standards. The question is, how long the required supply will last? What will happen, when the resources are exhausted? Where are these fuels located and what kind of burden on the environment do they represent? Our reserves at this time are deposits (exploitable accumulations of naturally occurring raw materials), which have been discovered and may be exploited.

The total occurrence of raw materials is called resources. Resources include known deposits, which are being exploited, then deposits, which may be exploited but need large investment of capital or new technology to do so, and deposits that have not been yet discovered, but according to estimates probably exist.

A great part of our resources is non-renewable, because these resources need many millions of years to form, but they may be exhausted within a few centuries. They are, in particular, solid fuel, such as coal and gas. For people, salt deposits, ores, and natural rock are also very important raw materials.

Since the beginning of the20th century, people have been trying to find alternate sources of these resources. Some of the examples is providing energy utilising the sunlight, or developing industrial manufacture of minerals.

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