1. Food Production      Gathered from earth's surface
2. Agriculture          -  wood & stone - for tools & structures

3.Simple Technologies   Clay gathered for pottery.  Copper & tin 
  -------------------   ores for bronze from out-crops.  Gold & 
			silver.  Quarries

4. City State           Use of stone grew. Marble quarries. Iron
   ----------           developed.  Shallow mines

5. Empire (Roman)       Material consumption increases  -  lead,
   --------------       zinc, cinnabar.  100ft mines, slave labour


6. Medieval (Europe)    Low materials usage,  little or no mining

7. Industrial           Engines needed coal:  quarries then mines.
   Revolution           Metal demand growth: copper, lead, tin, 
   ----------           iron,  salt. 100ft mines, pick axes, horses

8. Consumer Society     Mechanisation starts. Geology helps mineral
   ----------------     location & mine construction - deployed 
                        elsewhere in world. 1,000ft mines. Increased 
                        usage & range of materials:  phosphates, 
                        nitrates.  Mines accident & disease prone

9. Mass Production      Start mining MNCs. Pumping technology - water
   Society              & air - deeper mines - 5,000ft.  Electricity
   ---------------      enabled spread of mechanisation for transport
                        & cutting. Automated machines cut out narrow
                        seems.  Some remote control from ground

                        Big increase in range of materials:  Al, Co,
                        Mg, Zn, Pt, Asbestos, diamonds & others. Very
                        rare materials prospected & mined. Oil wells

                        Advanced geophysical prospecting - satellites

                        MNCs - partly finance, partly marketing

                        Undersea technology - ocean shelf oil wells
                        depth 10,000ft


Constant Trend No.1: man increasingly makes greater use of the Earth's materials, in greater variety, in more remote locations, and (as can be seen from metals) in lower concentrations. The range of materials available to man increases considerably with economic level. Increase in mine depth obviously extends the range of materials which can be used, as does extending the location of mines - such as under the sea. The technologies available and in the wings seem certain to carry on this Constant Trend in the future period - probably with considerable force.

There may be a second Constant Trend, where demands are created by the developments of the industrial infrastructure which cause there to be a need for the earth's materials, which mining and technology provide. Thus materials which have no value in one epoch, become used in another.

The operation of these Constant Trends continually defeat the Malthusians, who predict that continued economic growth will cause the world to "run out of" resources. They see the fairly obvious increases in demand - but see a static technology - and do not see the ever widening availability of materials.


The mining industry has a well developed Multi-National Corporation (MNC) structure. The mining houses prospect for materials in various parts of the world; they have the technology; most new mining ventures are large scale undertakings needing a lot of finance - which these MNCs provide. They also have the market contact for the output. This typically Post Industrial pattern is likely to grow, as the dominant form.

Some of the emerging Post Industrials have been extensively exploited for materials so that mining within them is contracting (UK). But they continue to be active through their MNCs.

While we do not expect material shortages generally, there will be interaction between MNCs and LDCs & UDCs, (see Abbreviations) which may cause shortages on occasions. Given that the main driver for development of material resources will be from the MNCs, interaction may be expected from:

It is not possible to forecast which of these interaction will occur and where. Their effect is generally to reduce the development of materials, and in some cases produce supply shortages over the medium term. The process will go in fits and starts, with a general trend towards the LDCs learning that they need MNC technology, finance, and marketing - and that both groups must learn to work together. With steadily growing technology, scope exists to enlarge the areas suitable for mining, and reduce dependence on traditional deposits, as discussed below.

Technology developments can be expected to be important. Scope exists for further advances in prospecting. Mining technology should see steady if slow progress towards automation, with the Computer-Media (see Automation) speeding this up from now on. Fewer people underground will be the trend, deeper mines, eventually virtually no one will need to go underground - intelligent automated machines taking their place (already started).

Processing technology will enable lower concentrations of materials to be used (see Metals), extending the areas suitable to mining - and in some enabling old mines to be re-opened (e.g. Cornish tin ). Extracting materials from sea water may become economically worthwhile. If processing technology increases rapidly, mines as such may not be needed - ordinary earth providing most of what is needed. This however is beyond our time scales.

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