From sodding scientists in a peer bloody reviewed paper in Nature for the Lord’s Sake

Our analysis also reveals that the incentives for investment in exploration
are not always aligned with societal needs and constraints. The market
determines investment based on short-term returns rather than long-term
scarcity planning.

Whut?

The mining, resource extraction, industries have the longest planning horizons of any organisation upon the planet. You start drilling holes in the ground now to check something out and you’re thinking about what’ll be happening 50 years into the future as you do so. Absolutely no one plans like this other than this industry. Governments certainly don’t….

Ah, yes, they are being as stupid as I thought they were going to be:

However, none of the current international
agencies has a mandate to plan, oversee or realize efficient and
effective exploitation of mineral resources. Even though there is considerable
fatigue with too many international treaties, as noted by major
resource powers such as China37, we propose that a linkage between the
International Resource Panel (Box 1) and the Intergovernmental Forum
on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development could use
existing treaty mechanisms for more effective resource planning. The
recently established United Nations Environment Assembly38 could play a
convening role to help ensure that ecological constraints are duly incorporated
into effective planning.

We’re going to put the UN in charge of mineral extraction to make it more efficient. Err, yes, that’ll work, won’t it?

2. Monitor impacts of mineral production and consumption. There is an
urgent need to establish a system for tracking mineral use along the entire
value chain, from source to end of life, perhaps based on the ‘fingerprinting’
developed by the German Geological Survey for tantalum39,40

Idiots, damn fool idiots. Yes, I do know those German guys and bloody good work they’ve done too. But their tracking only lasts until you first refine the metal. It’s absolutely useless, cannot in any manner work at all, after that first refining.

Such a system could also incorporate a global chain-of-custody programme,
similar to that of the food industry. Furthermore, there is a
need to promote domestic production and consumer cognizance of
mineral use, incorporating a notion of ‘metal miles’; that is, reduction
of the environmental cost of transport through increased consumption
of local products.

We’re going to have a global plan for minerals extraction so as to make sure that it’s all efficient. So that people then use only local minerals for local people? These folks are insane.

And they’re fools too:

Extraction processes should
be improved. Typical copper grades are less than 1% of the total mass and
the recovery rate of this small amount should be optimized.

Yep, every miner right around the world is just copacetic about his extraction rates. No one ever works to try to improve the percentage of the valuable stuff he extracts. The entire industry just ignores the most obvious method of profit enhancement. Yup, really, they do. They spend fortunes digging vast holes in the ground, erecting huge factories to process the dirt, and they don’t pay any attention at all to how efficiently they extract the gold from the dirt.

But putting the UN in charge would change all of that, wouldn’t it?

How do these people remember how to breathe?

In addition,
all valuable metals contained in the ore should be recovered rather than
ending up in the tailings dam (for example, indium or germanium in zinc
ores, or gallium in bauxite).

Absurdly twattish. Gallium from bauxite for example. Yep, it’s there. And the world uses perhaps 400 tonnes a year of Ga, about half from scrap (mostly process scrap) recycling. So, maybe 200 tonnes of virgin material (old numbers but still useful). There’s a few thousand tonnes of Ga in the bauxite processed each year. If we start to dump thousands of tonnes into a market that demands hundreds of tonnes what does that do to the price? Yep, it falls. Almost certainly to below the price of extracting the Ga from bauxite.

The reason we don’t do this therefore is that it’s not a valuable material, all that Ga in bauxite.

We recognize that in many cases commodity pricing signals run
contrary to ecological goals. Regulatory mechanisms would be needed
for companies to focus on longer-term resource conservation planning.

Facepalm. Let’s abolish the price system. That always works well.

Global
coordination is needed to ensure that minerals are produced in the most
ecologically and economically efficient way

By abolishing the price system?

Ultimately, international legal mechanisms
may be needed to anticipate and respond to future mineral availability
constraints

Grr.

24 comments on “From sodding scientists in a peer bloody reviewed paper in Nature for the Lord’s Sake

  1. For communists, “making something more efficient” means bringing it under direct political control.

  2. “For communists, “making something more efficient” means bringing it under direct political control.”

    It also seems to mean prison camps, random arrests, executions and terror.

  3. Defeating and hopefully destroying the EU is nowhere near enough to bring socialism the brutal death that it deserves.

    Richard North –despite his erroneous attitude to the EU and his destructive statism–correctly points out that more and more shite is being created at the top globalist level. And is then rubber-stamped by the EU stooges. Which means we are–were–being signed up to all sorts of shite–codex alimentarius (sic–can’t be arsed looking it up), gun control etc–as a 28th part of a collection of bureaucratic meddlers and fools.

    Henceforth we will have our own seat at these tables. And if we can get rid of the ZaNu/ BluLabour scum that presently plague us, can tell these Globalist commissars exactly where they can fuck off to.

  4. Although in “proper” science peer-review is taken as the gold standard, it’s worth noting that in more “politically sensitive” arenas there’s little difference between peer-review and letting schoolkids mark their friends’ exam papers.

  5. Was anyone with any basic grounding in mining (or even economics) involved in the writing of that paper?

    Reading those quotations, the first thing that springs to mind is that this is not a scientific paper but a political one.

    And yet it passed peer review in “Nature”.

  6. Actually, Tim, a lot of exploration drilling gets canned during a downturn. All the companies that specialise in exploration drilling in Queensland shed significant numbers of employees (geologists) following the collapse in coal prices, with one going bankrupt. Geology graduates went from walking into $80k plus jobs to not being able to find a job at any price.

    Operating mines carry on drilling, but drastically reducing exploration drilling on undeveloped reserves that will not be mined any time soon is an easy way of tightening the belt. In Australia, you already have to carry out a certain minimum amount of drilling to keep an exploration license, but that is mainly to stop people simply buying licenses and then doing nothing with them, hoping that a mining company will come and buy it an inflated price. There are companies that do that, but they have to drill a certain number of holes each year.

  7. I note (I’ve only read the abstract) that the very first reference is a link to a Grauniad article. This is how science works, children.

  8. Author information

    Abstract•
    References•
    Author information•
    Supplementary information

    Affiliations

    University of Delaware, College of Earth, Ocean and Environment, Newark, Delaware, USA
    Saleem H. Ali
    University of Queensland, Sustainable Minerals Institute, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    Saleem H. Ali
    University of Vermont, Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, Burlington, Vermont, USA
    Saleem H. Ali
    University of Technology Sydney, Institute for Sustainable Futures, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
    Damien Giurco
    Institut des Sciences de la Terre, University Grenoble Alpes, Grenoble, France
    Nicholas Arndt &
    Olivier Vidal
    Geological Society of London, London, UK
    Edmund Nickless
    Graham Brown Consulting, Buckland, Buckinghamshire, UK
    IUGS/IAGC Commission on Global Geochemical Baselines and EuroGeoSurveys, Athens, Greece
    Alecos Demetriades
    University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
    Judith Kinnaird
    University of Para, Belem, Brazil
    Ray Durrheim &
    Maria Amélia Enriquez
    Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    Anna Littleboy
    US Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia, USA
    Lawrence D. Meinert
    Potsdam University and International Union for Geological Sciences, Potsdam, Germany
    Roland Oberhänsli
    United Nations Environment Programme, Bangkok, Thailand
    Janet Salem
    MinEx Consulting, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Richard Schodde
    University of Western Australia, Centre for Exploration Targeting, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
    Richard Schodde
    Namibian Uranium Institute, Swakopmund, Namibia
    Gabi Schneider
    Newcastle University, London Campus, London, UK
    Natalia Yakovleva

    Newcastle has a London Campus? Mostly people from countries that have contributed nothing to modern civilisation with nothing academic jobs in the West.

    University of Queensland, Sustainable Minerals Institute, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    Saleem H. Ali

    This parasite is triple-dipping. Good work if you can get it but I doubt it is contributing anything to human happiness. Abolish them all.

  9. What is all the obsession with food miles, metal miles etc?

    As I understand it, shipping this stuff across the world involves gigantic ships which are, per ton transported, incredibly efficient. Or at least I assume efficient, they’re certainly cheap, and cheap implies they’re not burning much fuel per ton transported, no?

  10. Nature is a shit journal these days. Once upon a time you had to apply the Scientific Method to even have a slight hope of getting something peer-reviewed and published. Now you just have to write about a load of wishy-washy shit and pretend you know what you’re talking about. Nothing is proven any more.

  11. You start drilling holes in the ground now to check something out and you’re thinking about what’ll be happening 50 years into the future as you do so.

    Ahem. 25 max. Often less, but that’s because the reservoir won’t be producing after that. But you’re right: we plan the production profiles for the whole field life. Although in fairness, if we’re in the middle of planning a 25 year project and the oil price dips, everyone shits themselves and shelves it: they are certainly chasing very short-term returns even if the geoscience guys are thinking long-term.

  12. H Ali Saleem occurs 3 times. Are there 3 of them? It is plausible – just check how many different people called Muhammad Asif have played cricket for Pakistan.

    On the other hand, surely there is only one Richard Schodde.

    Is it normal to pad the author list in this way? It certainly reduces the credibility of the exercise for me. It makes you wonder whether anyone on the list died during the writing of this paper?

  13. “the recovery rate of this small amount should be optimized.”

    We’ve been making computers commercially since the 1960s. That is why they got twice better every two years in the 1990s, and considerably less so now.

    We’ve been making batteries commercially for 150 years. That is why they get on average 3% better every year (it doesn’t feel like that – you’ll get the same battery tech for 10 years in your phone, and then suddenly get a new battery that’s 35% better)

    We’ve been extracting copper (and trying to optimize it) for 7000 years. You don’t get leaps and bounds just because the UN wants them.

  14. TN, petroleum might be a different case than zinc or gold etc. Río Tinto has been in business since 3000BC, with a few hiatuses.

  15. There is nothing more embarrassing than scientists talking about economics. Back when I had a NewScientist subscription I had to cancel because I couldn’t take the stupidity of their (frequent) politicisation of scientific issues.

  16. @MBE

    “As I understand it, shipping this stuff across the world involves gigantic ships which are, per ton transported, incredibly efficient. Or at least I assume efficient, they’re certainly cheap, and cheap implies they’re not burning much fuel per ton transported, no?”

    Yep.

    An average panamax bulker consumes 75kg of heavy fuel oil per nautical mile; a best in class- 60kg. Cargo capacity c 800-100k m3 of dry cargo.

    Whilst Heavy fuel oil is pretty awful stuff, you are looking at 8g of Co2 per cargo tonne/per kilometre. A truck weighs in at 110g, and a plane 665g.

    The global CO2 contribution of shipping is c 4%. To drive c90% of trade.

    Still, the EU has implemented emissions monitoring, and is looking to bring in market based measures to solve the ‘problem’

  17. nuts- 80-100k m3 per panama bulker.

    You can charter one for around 8k a day (on some routes), but you have to pay the fuel bill, though- $275 per tonne.

  18. John Square – “Still, the EU has implemented emissions monitoring, and is looking to bring in market based measures to solve the ‘problem’”

    About ten years ago the New Scientist ran an article admitting that shipping emissions create clouds at the right height to cool the planet.

    We need more of them not less.

  19. Ray Durrheim is at Wits not in Brazil. He is a smart cookie and has worked for a mining company (Gencor). Shame to see him involved in this piece of political junk.

  20. As RM observes “Nature” has gone to the dogs. So has the Royal Society. In swathes of “science” science is but a memory. It really makes me want to spit.

  21. This is utterly moronic. Would be worth a letter to Nature. If I subscribed.

    Clearly none of these people has even the faintest understanding of resource economics. Supply/Demand, return on investment, time value of money are all basic principles they have never heard of – the misconceptions are staggering.

  22. TN, petroleum might be a different case than zinc or gold etc. Río Tinto has been in business since 3000BC, with a few hiatuses.

    That fills me with hope. Another millenium or two and somebody around here might make a decision.

  23. So Much For Subtlety, we need a cooler planet do we?

    Come visit me in Canada next December and we’ll discuss it. I’ll throw you a few globally warmed bits of H2O as fast as I can. And I’m just barely north of 49. My oldest son engineers stuff in Northern Saskatchewan. We’ll go visit him too. You’ll like it, very globally unwarm.

    We will thrive on a warmer planet. If the place cools both of our homes will be a mile deep in ice.

    Mind you, the thought of a glacier rumbling over Guardian headquarters while the hipsters squeal is very attractive.

  24. The whole article is simply a paean of praise for central planning.

    It’s like the twentieth century never happened.

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