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Stock Check: How Long Will the Earth's Resources Last?

STOCK HOW LONG WILL THE EARTH'S RESOURCES LAST? CHECK Demand for rare earth metals has surged in the past few years. These metals contain unique properties that make them a crucial part of almost all modern-day equipment. Over the past decade the demand these metals has grown by three times, reaching 125,000 metric tons per year. According to analysts, that figure could cross 200,000 tons by 2014. EARTH'S NON-RENEWABLE Recent projections suggest that at current levels of consumption and production, Aluminium and Phosphorus-the two most plentiful mineral reserves-will be exahusted in about 80 years. Reserves of three kinds of fuel–oil, gas, and coal-are projected to be exhausted in about 40 years. MATERIALS REMAINING RESERVES OF MINERALS AND FUELS Uses (Billions of Metric Tonnes) (Percent of AlI Minerals) MINERALS 75 B 52.5% transportation packaging construction electronics Al Aluminium 65 B 45.5% fertilizer pesticides matches Phosphorus 0.7 B aircraft 0.5% armor Ti Titanium 0.6 B brass 0.4% wires Cu piping Copper 0.6 B iron 0.4% steel dry cell batteries Manganese FUELS 0.9 B electronics 0.6% paint computer monitors Ao All Others (Billions of Metric Tonnes) (Percent of All Fuels) 2 B 19% fuel Gas 4 B 37% fuel Oil 5 B 44% fuel Ca Coal PROJECTED REMAINING RESERVES Number of Years Left if Number of Years Left if Production Continues at Production Remains Unchanged from Current Rates of Growth* Current Rates of Growth* 81 Aluminium - 1,812 -13| - 30| 16| 10 Antimony 25 Cadmium 12 Chromium 21 Cobalt 83 28 Copper Graphite Indium 39 23 65 19| - 20| 13 15 Lead 22 Manganese 48 20 Molybdenum 42 33 Nickel 49 84 Phosphorus -369 108- Platinum 361 18 Silver 23| 58 Tantalum 164 47 Titanium 110 21 Tungsten 48 32 Uranium 102 13 Yttrium 61 16 Zinc · 21 36 Oil 43 39 Gas ·64 46 Coal 126 40 60 80 100 120 2,000 1,500 1,000 500 * Also assumes no recycling and consumption remains at 2009 levels. Authors: Courtney Griffith ( and Jonathan Schwabish ( Sources: New Scientist; BBC; Tom Graedel, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Data compiled by and available at The factors used to convert oil, gas, and coal to metric tonnes are provided by BP and can be found at Fuels Fuels Minerals Minerals

Stock Check: How Long Will the Earth's Resources Last?

shared by JonathanSchwabish on Oct 25
Our entry to the Information is Beautiful monthly contest. This graphic depicts the remaining number of years of the earth's stocks of minerals and fuels.


Jonathan Schwabish


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