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The anticipated state of mining in the first half of 21th century

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Abstract:

The development and state of mining and availability of earth resources is also connected with the required state of the environment, human population, respecting the concept of the sustainable development, adopting new technologies and materials, globalization, the transfer of the capital in the form of investments, and with political and economic intentions of decision-taking countries and groups throughout the world.In the presented study I devote a minimum attention to the problem of energetic resources because such studies are numerous, easily available and well-known. Another reason is that the question of availability of fossil fuels is today especially a matter of politics. Therefore, the study is primarily directed toward the mining industry and availability of non-energetic resources.Basing on the development in the second half of the 20th century, we can expect that in the 21th the same mineral resources will be explored. Ceramic materials, glass, polymers, composite materials and laminates, which may decrease the demand for metals, will be certainly of a higher importance. The same metals however will be of use in new technologies and products. Commodities for which an increased demand can be expected with a high probability are: light, strong materials such as magnesium, titanium, carbon filaments and materials of petrochemical industry. The volume of production of plastics should overcome that of metals at the beginning of the 21th century. The development of plastics is oriented toward regulating their durability or biological tolerance because of the environmental protection. Zirconium, tantalum, rare-earth elements, pure quartz in high-tech applications elements of platinum group iron, aluminium, copper steel is expected to persist as a dominant metal in the 21th century concerning the produced amount. A high consumption of aluminium and its alloys could also be predicted. Copper will increasingly be consumed in technologies for utilization of alternative sources of energy. Concretes the development of second generation (nonporous and homogeneous) with mechanical propertie comparable to these of aluminium alloys is assumed.In the second half of the 20th century, important changes in the world mining occured. Most European mining companies producing coal and metals dramatically restricted their activities. The reason were political and social changes in the Europe leading to the increase of expenses for the man work and protection of nature. The new environmental legislation complicated opening of new mines. The next important fa

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