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Thursday, September 3, 2009

mining metals

Today over at Worldwatch there's an article "World Metal Production Surges" on the increase in the world's production of metals that has occurred over the last decade.  In the late 90s, a new expansion in mining of the world's metals began that has vastly outpaced anything previously.  The world now digs out a combined 1.4 billion tons of metals a year: iron, aluminum, copper, & gold, but also mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and a host of other metals that have their uses but are highly toxic.  Why has this happened?  The rapid expansion of the economy of China.  Today, China is the largest consumer of steel, consuming 36% of the world's steel.