As the world’s supply of precious rare earth minerals continue to dwindle, industrial nations scramble to find – and in some cases, monopolize – new potential sources. Raw Story reports that Greenland’s melting arctic ice could expose new deposits of the precious minerals. However, getting to them could be difficult.
The scramble for the Arctic is part of a bigger pattern, a looming resource crunch that connects commuters delayed by stolen power lines to vanishing manhole covers across Europe – a crunch fuelled by severe pressure on key commodities across the world. Rapid economic growth in large developing nations – China, India, Brazil and others – along with growing urbanisation and a swelling global population set to top 9 billion have made unprecedented demands on natural resources. In the past few years, we have seen a series of food crises, soaring fossil fuel prices and hikes in the cost of key traditional raw materials such as iron, steel and copper, as well as the rare earths.
Countries in control of such resources can take a commanding position in the world economy. China realised this some years ago and has not only cornered the market in rare earths but embarked on a land grab to secure its food supplies. Other countries have been slower off the mark, but are trying to catch up.
The race for resources is threatening some of the world’s most fragile environments, from the Arctic to the Amazon, from Madagascar to Papua New Guinea.
Read more at Raw Story.