Lawrence M. Cathles, 2015. "Future Rx: optimism, preparation, acceptance of risk", Ore Deposits in an Evolving Earth, G. R. T. Jenkin, P. A. J. Lusty, I. Mcdonald, M. P. Smith, A. J. Boyce, J. J. Wilkinson
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The world contains the energy and mineral resources needed to sustain 10.5 billion (the level the world population is expected to reach in 2100) at a European standard of living for hundreds of centuries. Using physical and chemical principles to extrapolate from what we know, it is shown that the required resources are present, largely in the world’s oceans. The environmental consequences of shifting to ocean supply will be positive, and a transition from fossil fuels to low carbon energy sources is provided by natural gas. The eventual steps required are big (thousands of nuclear reactors, country-size solar facilities in desert areas, large mining operations) and there are risks, but the risks are small compared with failing to meet the expectations of a growing world. The best course is to aim for success (all at European standard by 2113), accept and manage the risks of development, solving unforeseen problems as they arise, accept the transition to gas, and train and engage the best talents to prepare to tap the ocean’s resources.
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Ore deposits form by a variety of natural processes that concentrate elements into a volume that can be economically mined. Their type, character and abundance reflect the environment in which they formed and thus they preserve key evidence for the evolution of magmatic and tectonic processes, the state of the atmosphere and hydrosphere, and the evolution of life over geological time. This volume presents 13 papers on topical subjects in ore deposit research viewed in the context of Earth evolution. These diverse, yet interlinked, papers cover topics including: controls on the temporal and spatial distribution of ore deposits; the sources of fluid, gold and other components of orogenic gold deposits; the degree of oxygenation in the Neoproterozoic ocean; bacterial immobilization of gold in the semi-arid near-surface environment; and mineral resources for the future, including issues of resource estimation, sustainability of supply and the criticality of certain elements to society.