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Extraction of mineral resources is one of the largest industries in the world economy. 

  • The value of mineral resources extracted each year changes due to price fluctuations. In 2015, the value of extracted ferrous, non-ferrous and precious metals, non-metals and mineral fuels amounted to USD 3,584 billion (without diamonds), which means that the mining industry sales were more than three times greater than the global production of the automotive industry and also more than three times greater than the production of the pharmaceutical industry.


The consumable resources of many strategic resources are running out. 

  • For many raw materials, known reserves are expected to last 50-100 years. Their prices are stagnating or are slowly falling due to fierce competition from producers from many countries. 

    • On the other hand, there are many "strategic" products without which modern technology and economy cannot function. These include: oil / gas, certain metals (Lithium, Nickel, Chromium, Cobalt), heavy metals such as Palladium, precious metals such as Gold and Platinum, rare earth metals, and radioactive elements such as Uranium and Thorium. 

  • Known deposits of some of these strategic materials are sufficient for 5-15 years of today's demand, and new deposit detection has not kept pace with rapidly growing global consumption. 

  • It sometimes happens that one country supplies 90% of world production, which poses a high risk of lack of access to strategic raw material in the event of a serious international conflict. 


Expenditure on the search for new deposits of raw materials is in the order of tens of billions of dollars per year.

  • Total reported expenditure on non-ferrous metals, oil and gas exploration in the last 10 years (2007-2016) averaged $83 billion annually (ranging from $47 billion to $108 billion annually).

  • The depletion of identified resources of certain raw materials causes a growing interest in prospecting for deposits in the Arctic and under water ("new frontiers of geology").

    • Drilling costs in the Arctic, however, are 2-3 times higher than in a temperate climate. 

    • Underwater drilling costs are 5-20 times higher than onshore drilling. 

  • At the same time, there are important areas in which carrying out exploration works using traditional methods is, for ecological reasons, significantly limited or impossible (national parks, etc.). 

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