Impact of changing energy economics on mineral processing

Dahlstrom, D. A.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
Energy costs have had a serious impact on all basic industries today. This is due to the significant amount of energy that is used to convert natural resources into usable products. Other factors such as transportation with its major energy requirement and materials employed in processing that have already required significant energy input for their manufacture accordingly influence delivered cost to the user. The farmer is a good example of this. While his large capital investment for land, machines, and buildings is highly impacted by today's interest rates, his chemical fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides as well as those same machines and transportation costs for his products have also been seriously affected by energy costs. With the many unit operations involved in mining and mineral processing, several of which require significant inputs of energy, one can only conclude that this industry has experienced a great increase in percentage of total cost for energy alone. Fuerstenau (1975) indicated that the minerals industry used about 12.5% of the total energy produced in the US. McNulty (1983) listed the total energy requirements for the production of 0.9 t (1 st) of various metals including the energy consumed in the manufacture of supplies employed, such as tires, explosives, chemicals, grinding media, etc. (Table 1).
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