A sum total of 180 billion tonnes metallic mineral is obtained from the earth these days.
If we calculate properly, we need to extract 50 tones of minerals from the earth’s crust to support technically advanced society having a population of 5 billion people.
The water we drink in a glass made of glass, eat food from dishes made of clay, flavour our food with salt obtained from oceans, eat fruits grown with the use of fertilizers such as potassium carbonate (Potash) and phosphorus and use vessels made of steel.
Some other minerals and their uses are as below:
Aluminium – Aircrafts, electric cables, utensils.
Beryllium – Moderator in nuclear reactors.
Boron – To make impact resistant steel.
Copper – In electrical industry as conductors, wires, cables etc.
Germanium – Semiconductor device.
Effects of mineral extraction and uses on environment:
Minerals affect the environment and its elements like air, water, land, biological species etc.
Affects on Air: (a) Emission of dust, suspended particles and gases cause air pollution. Affect on Water:
(a) Water gets polluted due to the discharge of harmful trace elements into it.
(b) Underground water also gets contaminated due to seepage and infiltration of leached drainage.
Affects on Soil:
(a) Soil quality degrades
(b) Soil fertility is lost
(c) Intoxication of soil