Long-term shortage of crude fertilizers and crude minerals, excluding coal, petroleum and precious stones
Nature: Crude fertilizers and crude minerals are in danger of long-term shortage, but little is being done to counteract that probability.
Incidence: Examples of minerals most in danger of being depleted, with their most common industrial uses are: antimony (batteries, semiconductors); bismuth (fire safety devices); cobalt (jet aircraft engines, mining tools); copper (electric wiring and equipment); lead (storage batteries for transportation, communications); mica (insulation, stereo speakers); silver (photography, dental alloys); tin (anticorrosive in many alloys); and zinc (brass, bronze, galvanized iron).
Claim: The greatest single physical obstacle to increased food production, particularly in developing countries, is probably the shortage of fertilizer: in the short-term of nitrogen but, in the longer-term, of non-renewable phosphate. At the same time, recent studies have shown that many soils used for vegetable growing in the UK, for example, contain up to four times as much phosphate and potassium as is needed. This is an obvious example of how fertilizer saving could have broad implications.
Problem Type: E: Emanations of other problems
Subject(s): MineralsChemical productsScarcity
Date of last update 01.01.2000 – 00:00 CET