Mineral Resource Availability and Our Future

  • 21 Feb 2012
  • 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Marie Callendar's Restaurant 9503 Research Blvd. Austin, TX 78759


Registration is closed

The rapidly increasing demand for mineral resources: precious metals and rare earth elements, requires mining on exponentially-increasing scales.  The energy required to extract minerals increases as available sources are exhausted.  We must then explore in new lands, further damaging local environments and causing tensions in host communities.  Furthermore, mineral resources are very unevenly distributed, leading to the creation of haves and have-nots and tensions between them.   Even more critically, the supply of most minerals is very inelastic over short time scales.   Decreasing availability, increasing costs, lag time to begin mining operations are looming issues with global  economic implications. This talk illustrates these points using examples such as the Rare Earth Elements, for which the US is dependent on foreign countries (mainly China) for 97% of its supply, and the Platinum Group Metals, which occur in mineable quantities only in three countries.  It is suggested that, as a civilisation, we need to begin moving away from such heavy per person dependence on mineral commodities, although we can never remove it entirely. 

Come hear John Berry, CTX WFS member and Geologist give his forecast and scenarios for the future of minerals and the wider impact to our society.


John L Berry has been an independent remote sensing contractor based in Austin, Texas for the past 11 years, and has more than 45 years of experience in exploration for oil, gas and minerals world-wide.  The last 30 years of that experience has involved the application of remote sensing to most fronteir basins, onshore and offshore.  Heas has done fieldwork on 6 continents from the High Artic to southern Australia.

John created the remote sensing group at Shell Oil, where he developed techniques to map and evaluate the oil slicks formed by natural seepage of oil to the sea floor, and applied them world-wide.  At Shell he also used remote sensing to map fold and thrust belts in many parts of the world. 

Prior to joining Shell, John was Director of Mineral Exploration at Earth Satellite Corporation (now MDA Federal) in the Washington, DC, and before that he was with the Zambian arm of Anglo American, exploring for copper in central Africa. It was the tedious process of digging and logging pits through up to 70 feet of overburden that first interested him in the possibilities of remote sensing for speeding up geological mapping.

John was the author (with Gary L. Prost) of the chapter on Hydrocarbon Exploration in the Vol. 3 of the 3rd edition of the Manual of Remote Sensing, and is the author of many conference papers on remote sensing, fold and thrust belts (especially those of central Asia). He is an associate editor of The Professional Geologist (AIPG).  He received his Master's degree in Geology and Geophysics from Columbia University in 1966..


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