Mineral Resources, Environmental Issues, and Land Use

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Science  02 Jun 1995:
Vol. 268, Issue 5215, pp. 1305-1312
DOI: 10.1126/science.268.5215.1305


Contrary to predictions from the 1950s through the mid-1980s, persistent shortages of nonfuel minerals have not occurred, despite prodigious consumption, and world reserves have increased. Global availability of raw materials is relevant to policy decisions regarding mineral development and land use. Justification for environmental protection may exceed that for mining a specific ore body. Demand for environmental accountability is rising worldwide, and new technologies are enabling internalization of costs. Mineral-rich developing nations plagued by inefficient state-owned mining enterprises, high population growth rates, and environmental degradation could realize substantial benefit by reforming government policies to encourage foreign investment in resources and by appropriate allocation of mineral rents.

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