Future Worlds pp 134-156 | Cite as

The Raw Materials

  • John Gribbin


Clearly, the resources of Planet Earth are finite. But, equally clearly, the actual amount of raw materials distributed through the Earth’s crust — let alone its interior — is vastly more than mankind could possibly use in a millennium, let alone a mere century or so. The problem of supplying raw materials for an industrialised world is not any absolute shortage, except in a very few rare cases, but one of extracting the specific items we want from the bulk of the rock in which they are mixed, and transporting them to the places where they are required. With unlimited energy and money, these problems would disappear. But our energy and capital resources are far from unlimited, although they are adequate. So the problem becomes one of making the best use of available energy resources to extract and process the raw materials we need, at a price we can afford.


Manganese Nodule Poor Nation Future World Mere Century Cumulative Consumption 
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Copyright information

© The Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex, and John Gribbin 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Gribbin
    • 1
  1. 1.Science Policy Research UnitUniversity of SussexBrightonEngland

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