Minerals, Metals and Sustainability: Meeting Future Material Needs, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Minerals, Metals and Sustainability

Meeting Future Material Needs, 1st Edition

By William John Rankin

CRC Press

440 pages

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Paperback: 9780415684590
pub: 2011-10-03
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Minerals, Metals and Sustainability examines the exploitation of minerals and mineral products and the implications for sustainability of the consumption of finite mineral resources and the wastes associated with their production and use. It provides a multi-disciplinary approach that integrates the physical and earth sciences with the social sciences, ecology and economics.

Increasingly, graduates in the minerals industry and related sectors will not only require a deep technical and scientific understanding of their fields (such as geology, mining, metallurgy), but will also need a knowledge of how their industry relates to and can contribute to the transition to sustainability.

Minerals, Metals and Sustainability is an important reference for students of engineering and applied science and geology; practising engineers, geologists and scientists; students of economics, social sciences and related disciplines; professionals in government service in areas such as resources, environment and sustainability; and non-technical professionals working in the minerals industry or in sectors servicing the minerals industry.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2 Materials and the materials cycle

Natural resources

Materials, goods and services

The material groups

The materials cycle

The recyclability of materials

Quantifying the materials cycle

3 An introduction to Earth

The crust

The hydrosphere and biosphere

Some implications of the basic laws of science

The biogeochemical cycles

4 An introduction to sustainability

The environmental context

A brief history of the idea of sustainability

The concepts of sustainable development and sustainability

Sustainability frameworks

A model of sustainability

5 Mineral resources

Formation of the Earth

The geological timescale

Formation of the crust

Minerals and rocks

Mineral deposits

Resources and reserves

Extracting value from the crust

6 The minerals industry

Mineral commodities

How mineral commodities are traded

The economic value of mineral commodities

The mining project cycle

The nature of the minerals industry

The economic and social impact of mining

The minerals industry and sustainable development

7 Producing ores and concentrates

Extracting rock from the crust

Beneficiating mined material

Examples of mineral beneficiation flowsheets

8 Producing metals and manufactured mineral products

Theoretical considerations


Cement and concrete


Other manufactured mineral products

9 Energy consumption in primary production

Direct and indirect energy and gross energy requirement

Embodied energy

Embodied energy and global warming potential

The effect of declining ore grade and liberation size on energy consumption

The lower limits of energy consumption

Energy sustainability indicators and reporting

10 The role of water in primary production

Global water resources

Water in the minerals industry

The embodied water content of metals

Water sustainability indicators and reporting

11 Wastes from primary production

Wastes and their origin

The types and quantities of direct wastes

Solid wastes

Liquid wastes

Gaseous wastes

The impact of wastes on humans and the environment

The international regulation of wastes

12 Management of wastes from primary production

Management of solid wastes

Management of liquid wastes

Gaseous wastes

Waste, effluent and emission sustainability indicators

13 Secondary materials and recycling

Options for end-of-life products

Drivers of recycling, reuse and remanufacturing

The benefits and limitations of recycling

Recycling terminology

Recovery, recycling and return rates for common materials

The energy required for recycling

The effect of recycling on resource life

Recycling materials from simple products

Recycling materials from complex products

Design for the environment

14 The future availability of minerals and metals

The determinants of long term supply

Potential sources of minerals

Crustal resources

Resources in seawater

Resources on the seabed

Summary and conclusions

15 The future demand for minerals and metals

The determinants of long term demand

Projections of the demand for mineral commodities

Materials and technological substitution


The IPAT equation

Summary and conclusions

16 Towards zero waste

The waste hierarchy

Reducing and eliminating wastes

Cleaner production

Wastes as raw materials

Waste reduction through process re-engineering

Industrial ecology

Making it happen

17 Towards sustainability

Closing the materials cycle

Market and policy based approaches to transitioning to sustainability

Possible global 'futures'

Summary and conclusions


I A note on units and quantities

II A review of some elementary science

The nature of matter

Conservation of matter

Thermal energy and the laws of thermodynamics

Electromagnetic radiation

Heat transfer

III United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, Stockholm Declaration, 16 June, 1972

IV The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, 16 June 1992 - The Rio Declaration

V GRI Sustainability Indicators

VI Processing routes used for the extraction of the common metals from their ores

About the Author

W. John Rankin has held academic and research appointments in South Africa, Canada and Australia. He was Director of the G. K. Williams Cooperative Research Centre for Extractive Metallurgy, Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne and Chief Scientist of CSIRO Division of Minerals. He has written over 100 scientific papers and 70 technical reports on extractive metallurgy and sustainable development.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Environmental Science
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Chemical & Biochemical
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Power Resources / Fossil Fuels