1st Edition

Minerals, Metals and Sustainability Meeting Future Material Needs

By William John Rankin Copyright 2011
    440 Pages
    by CRC Press

    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.

    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


    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.