keskiviikko 30. joulukuuta 2015

Voimmeko elää ilman kaivosteollisuutta?

Kävimme Pyhäsalmen kaivoksella tutustumassa vanhoihin kaivostiloihin.Veimme vaahteranpölkkyjä joihin oli ympätty sienirihmastoa vanhaan ruokailutuilaan. Tarkoituksena on kasvattaa tuhannen metrin syyvyydessä lääkesieniä. Kaivoksen uumenissa on ympärivuoden 20 astetta ja ilmankosteus lähentelee 90% mikä soveltuu hyvin sienten viljelyyn. Nähtäväksi jää vuoden päästä tuottavatko pölkyt itiöemää.

lakkakäävällä, silkkivyökäävällä ja koivuvinokkaalla ympätyt pölkyt.

Pölkyt lepäävät tuhannen metrin syvyydessä kaivostyöntekijöiden vanhassa ruokailuhuoneessa.

Automatkalla pohdimme kaverini Mikon kanssa kaivosteollisuuden tarpeellisuudesta. Kuparia tarvitsemme pääasiassa elektroniikkateollisuudessa ja sinkkiä terästeollisuudessa.

Kaivoksen perustaminen vaatii todella suurta ponnistelua ja resursseja. Tunneleita on kaivettava kymmeniä kilometrejä ja kallioperää räjäyteltävä tonnittain. Kupari ja sinkkipitoisuus on todella pieniä suomen kallioperässä, mutta korkea teknolooginen osaaminen ja hyvät työkoneet tekevät sen louhimisen kannattavaksi.

Leikitään semmoista ajatusleikkiä että emme perustaisi enää uusia kaivoksia vaan kierrättäisimme kaikki jo maasta kaivetut metallit ja käytettäisiin nanoteknologiaa korvaamaan todella harvinaiset raaka-aineet.

Ilmaiseksi ladattavassa kirjassa the Zeitgeist Movement Defined kirjassa on perehdytty tähän aiheeseen tarkemmin. Alla otteita kirjasta ja lihavoidulla mielestäni tärkeitä osia.

The first great failure is that only one percent of all rare Earth minerals are recycled today, according to some estimates. 728 Given their common use in electronics, electronic waste recycling has also been dismal. Based on EPA statistics in the US, in 2009 only 25% of consumer electronics were collected for recycling729 Likewise, the goods created that hold most of these valuable materials are also not even intended to be recycled for the most part.730
According to an organization called SecondWave Recycling, “for every one million cell phones recycled, we can recover 75 pounds of gold, 772 pounds of silver, and 33,274 pounds of copper...If the United States recycled the 13 million cell phones that are thrown away annually, we could save enough energy to power more than 24,000 homes for a year.731
Perhaps more importantly, it is now possible to manufacture synthetic versions of these metals in the context of their properties out of very common, abundant materials, in a lab.732733 Nanotechnology is proving to be very strong in this approach. 734 Many different industries have been actively working to address the issue in each application, such as now being able to make LED light bulbs without these metals. 735 Overall we see the push to solve this problem ramping up and the fact is, resolution is simply a matter of ingenuity, focus and time.736
Industrial reorientation is also important to add to this problem solving equation as a larger tier form of substitutability. While this may not currently apply to rare Earth metals as much at this time, larger scale components in various technologies are changing rapidly. It is a design initiative in engineering to actively focus on component innovation that can bypass such needs. However, given the rate of change for rare Earth metal substitution through synthesis, it appears to be simply a matter of time before this issue is resolved through a combination of strategic use, recycling and synthesis. 
Beyond that, it cannot be reiterated enough that the great failure of global industry has been not to make proper purpose comparisons when it chooses to use a certain material. In other words, it is not intelligent to use a very rare metal in a generally arbitrary and fleeting product. Since there is no referential database that shows active rates of use, decline and the like, companies make their decisions based merely on cost relationships which have very little value in the sense of strategic use by comparison. While it is true that price can reflect scarcity and difficulty of acquiring a certain mineral or element, such a dire reality arises only as the problem acutely materializes. In other words, no real foresight exists in price and by the time price reflects what was actually an observable technical reality at any time, it is often too late and the scarcity becomes a real problem. 
In an actively aware resource management system, this would not occur. Not only would such materials be constantly compared to draw assessment as to what is the most appropriate material for a given use, any foreshadowed problem can be seen from a long period away and hence efficiency can be better maximized.737 

) Abiotic resources have a different, yet similar management reality. We have already addressed our technical ability to circumvent or solve the problem of water scarcity with purification methods and our rapidly depleting topsoil 722 with soilless farming. Overall, the main resources we are left with are the valuable minerals we utilized to build many of the goods we use. These minerals are mostly compounds of Earthly elements and are extracted from rocks from the Earth's crust. Much progress in use-versatility has also been achieved by industry by extracting elements and forming metal alloys. An alloy is a metal mixture made by combining two or more metallic elements, such as the formation of steel.
There are close to 5,000 known minerals723 and the number of alloys possible is enormous, with many thousands in use today. As far as analysis, the British Geological Survey (BGS) outputs a statistical assessment of world minerals/elements/chemical compounds each year regarding global extraction/production use. 724 73 are documented in their 2007-2011 report and hence these can be considered the most utilized for global industrial production.725 Of those, the BGS in turn updates a “risk list” of such materials based on stressed or anticipated stressed supply.
The following chart expresses the medium risk to very high-risk elements, as per their analysis.
Reproduced from the British Geological Survey's Risk List 2011726
The BGS states “The...list provides a quick and simple indication of the relative risk in 2012 to the supply of...elements or element groups that we need to maintain our economy and lifestyle. The position of an element on this list is determined by a number of factors that might affect availability. These include the natural abundance of elements in the Earth’s crust, the location of current production and reserves, and the political stability of those locations...recycling rates and substitutability of the elements has been considered in the analysis.” 727
The qualifier of political stability/governance is actually not relevant, empirically. This is a cultural problem. It should be stated upfront that a NLRBE is achieved by global cooperation and the common war patterns, the “resource curse” and disruptions in the supply chain by such contrived, self-preserving pressures common of world powers would no longer be a problem.
Overall, the BGS rightfully concludes that substitutability and recycling are the solutions and the scarcest resources essentially suffer from a lack of recycling and a lack of adequate substitutions being made. Rather than address each material noted, the first one listed, rare Earth metals, will be used as the example by which problem resolution can be considered with all the others.
There are seventeen rare earth metals that are considered the most scare of all elements.