posted on Oct, 14 2011 @ 08:01 AM
Here's a table to explain expected shortages based on possible and known reserves firstly:
According to the US Geological Survey, shortage of some of the world's rare earth metals (along with other metals) will be felt within 50 years of
2009. An overview:
within 10 to 20 years: strontium, silver, antimony, gold, zinc, arsenic, tin, indium, zirconium, lead, cadmium, barium;
within 20 to 30 years: mercury, tungsten, copper, thallium, manganese, nickel;
within 30 to 40 years: molybdenum, rhenium, bismuth, yttrium, niobium;
within 40 to 50 years: iron.
Secondly: The drop in prices are not due to the resources being sparse, but the demand falling. The current economic situation in Europe, the States
and now Asia is dim, thus causing uncertainty and thus a fall in demand. This is why prices are falling. Aluminum is used in a variety of things,
including Cars, Planes and other such expensive consumer goods. Because these are not actually a necessity to the surprise of many, they aren't
demanded as much and the demand falls. However steel will be needed forever due to the growing dependence on the material for structural
Now there are two general answers to the shortage:
Dig deeper - Find reserves deeper, with more pressure and danger with not as many yields however they are comparably easier to get to than
Mine Asteroids - This is where most of the reserves on earth came from to begin with. After all the substance was swallowed into the magma core, the
crust hardened and was bombarded by asteroids. The issue being that these are hard to get to and back from but the material gained would be insane.
So the answer is quite clear, in our steps to privatizing space, we need to set up a space industry such as mining. For example:
At 1997 prices, a relatively small metallic asteroid with a diameter of 1.6 km (0.99 mi) contains more than 20 trillion US dollars worth of industrial
and precious metals.
The asteroid 16 Psyche is believed to contain 1.7×1019 kg of nickel-iron, which could supply the 2004 world production requirement for several
Compared to hot and sweaty conditions underground, a robotic operation using a railgun or something to launch a reusable craft filled with supplies to
and from the operation could supply earth with enough material to suffice. Without having to exhaust the land any further.