Paper No. 16-4
Presentation Time: 8:50 AM
GLOBAL CHANGE FROM A MINERAL-RESOURCE PERSPECTIVE
Global demand for energy and mineral resources is the major challenge for sustainability. The fact that the world has changed in terms of population growth, average per-capita consumption, and locations of mineral-resource development is illustrated by statistics for iron ore, coal, copper, and gold. Both global production and per-capita consumption are increasing as world population increases and average standards of living improve. China is the leading producer of more mineral commodities than any other country, which makes sense, because China is the most populous country, with 19% of world population. China produces much more than 19% of many commodities (91% of rare earth elements, 85% of tungsten, 80% of antimony, 71% of germanium, 64% of fluorspar, 56% of lead, 53% of indium, 52% of vanadium, 50% of steel, 46% of coal, 45% of iron ore and barite, 43% of phosphate and tin, 41% of molybdenum, 37% of zinc - from U.S. Geological Survey and Department of Energy statistics on global production in 2013 for most mineral resources and 2012 for coal, respectively). Historical iron-ore production reflects major world events: France was the leading iron producer during the Great Depression; the U.S. dominated after World War II, the USSR held the lead during most of the Cold War, and China became the world leader in 1992. After over 100 years of leading global gold production, South Africa was overtaken by China in 2007.