Rational nature management is a system of natural resources use, which is characteristic of intensive farming and has been actively introduced since the second half of the 20th century. Geological aspects of rational nature management include the choice of such methods for the development of minerals that ensure the most complete removal of mineral resources in the absence of extracted minerals, the creation of conditions for the restoration of renewable natural resources (mainly groundwater), land reclamation, the organization of waste-free production, and in the case of the technical impossibility or economic inexpediency of such a solution – the organization of waste storage, which minimizes the harmful consequences of such an event.

How we can classified the resources of the bowels of the Earth

Mineral resources, or resources of the bowels of the earth, which are also called minerals or mineral raw materials, like fuel and energy resources, are the basis for the development of modern industry and scientific and technological progress.

There is no unified classification of mineral resources. There is a fairly conventional classification by type of use:

Combustible fuel and energy: oil, natural gas, coal, oil shale, peat, uranium ore.


– non-ferrous metal ores: aluminum, copper, nickel, lead, cobalt, zinc, tin, antimony, molybdenum, mercury;

– mining and chemical: apatites, salts, phosphorites, sulfur, boron, bromine, iodine;

– ores of rare and precious metals: silver, gold,

– precious and semi-precious stones.


– industrial raw materials: talc, quartz, asbestos, graphite, mica;

– building materials: marble, slate, tuff, basalt, granite;

– Hydromineral: fresh and mineralized waters;

– Gemstone raw materials;

– Mining and chemical raw materials.

Real situation, and depletion of mineral resources forecasts. How long will this amount last?

Many industries are wholly or partially based on mineral raw materials: ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy, chemical industry, power plants operating on mineral fuel, construction industry, etc. The main branch of heavy industry – mechanical engineering with its many areas operates on mineral raw materials and mineral fuel. Further development of the world economy is inconceivable without the widespread use of fuel and energy and mineral resources.

To date, all fossil substances (solid, liquid and gaseous) and geothermal energy are concentrated in the upper parts of the earth’s crust. The average content of a chemical element in the earth’s crust is called the clarke of this substance. More than 99% of the mass of the earth’s crust is made up of clarkes of eight elements: oxygen – 47%; silicon – 29.6; aluminum – 8.1; iron – 4.7; calcium – 3; sodium – 2.5; potassium – 2.5; magnesium – 1.9%;

The extraction of mineral raw materials is significantly ahead of population growth. So, in the period from 1950 to 1970, the world’s population increased from 2.5 to 3.6 billion people, that is, approximately one and a half times. During this time the consumption of bituminous and brown coal, iron and manganese ores, potassium salts and phosphates has increased in the world by 2-3 times. The consumption of oil has increased 4 times, natural gas – 5 times, bauxite – 9 times, etc. Growth in demand for mineral raw materials is expected in the future.

 In 1970, the world consumption of metals per capita was 345 kg (including 331 kg – ferrous and 14 kg – non-ferrous).

 Throughout its history, mankind has withdrawn from the bowels about 50 billion tons of oil, 5 billion tons of iron, 125 billion tons of coal and many other minerals.

There are many contradictory forecasts regarding the “timing of provision” of mankind with certain types of mineral raw materials. For example, the American scientists G. Landsberg, L. Fishman and D. Fisher pointed out in 1965 that the provision of the United States with many important raw materials is significantly lower than the possible level of demand for them in 2000.

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 According to some estimates of foreign scientists, the reserves of all metals will be consumed on the globe by 2500, and by 1990 the mining of lead, tin, as well as gold, silver and platinum will cease; before 2000—2100 – nickel, molybdenum, tungsten, copper; until 2100-2200 – manganese, cobalt, aluminum. According to other data, there will be enough aluminum for 570, iron for 250, zinc for 23, copper for 29, lead for 19, and tin for 35 years. Many of these predictions are not reliable. They were drawn up several times and turned out to be erroneous.

How human society and mining companies can prevent an immediate depletion of the Earth?

Complex measures for the rational use of minerals and the protection of subsoil include the following:

1. Ensuring the completeness of extraction of minerals during mining:

a) improving the quality of exploration work;

b) expansion of open pit mining;

c) the introduction of systems for the development of minerals with the backfill of the worked-out area;

d) separate excavation of minerals and rocks;

e) redevelopment of sites and deposits;

f) development and use of special methods and measures to reduce losses. 

2. Ensuring the completeness of extraction of minerals during processing:

a) increasing the degree of extraction of minerals by improving processing technology. These technologies include underground leaching, microbiological, physicochemical, hydrometallic and combined methods. For example, the microbiological leaching method promotes the extraction of copper from chalcopyrite by 80%, manganese up to 97.5%, and increases the extraction of gold from refractory ores by about 9 times. As a result of the improvement of technologies, the emission of harmful gases into the atmosphere is almost completely eliminated and the complex use of raw materials is ensured;

b) the use of pre-enrichment methods;

c) processing of dumps and waste;

d) additional extraction of useful components;

e) treatment of mine and waste water;

f) development of measures of economic incentives for more complete extraction during enrichment.

3. Rational use of mined mineral raw materials and products of its processing in the national economy:

a) saving resources is one of the ways of rational use;

b) secondary use of products of processing of mineral raw materials;

c) the maximum reduction in losses during the transportation of mineral raw materials, coal, etc.

Rational nature management is the best solution!

Rational use of natural resources should ensure the full existence and development of modern society, provided that the high quality of the human environment is preserved. This can be achieved through the economic exploitation of natural conditions and resources with an effective mode of their reproduction, taking into account the promising interests of the development of the economy and the preservation of human health.

The use of natural resources is irrational when human impact on nature leads to a decline in the strength of its restorative properties, a decrease in the quality and depletion of natural resources, and environmental pollution. It can arise as a result of not only direct, but also indirect effects on nature.

Compliance with the principles of rational nature management will allow developing measures for environmental protection, restoring broken relationships in ecosystems, and preventing the aggravation of environmental situations.

Additional info:

The top 10 mining companies in the world and their gain for 2020

1.Glencore – $ 215.1 billion

Swiss trading company, one of the world’s largest suppliers of raw materials (including food) and rare earths.

2. China MinMetals Corporation – $ 85.86 billion

Chinese metals and minerals company headquartered in Beijing. It is a state corporation under the direct control of the Commission for the Supervision and Management of State Assets.

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3. ArcelorMittal – $ 70.62 billion

Multinational steel corporation headquartered in Luxembourg.

4. POSCO – $ 55.58 billion

South Korean steel company headquartered in Pohang, South Korea.

5. BHP – $ 44.2 billion

Anglo-Australian multinational mining, metals and oil company headquartered in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

6. Rio Tinto – $ 43.17 billion

Australian-British mining and metallurgical company. It is engaged in the search, extraction and processing of minerals around the world.

7. Vale SA – $ 37.57 billion

Brazilian mining company. It is mainly engaged in the extraction of iron ore and nickel. The main production facilities of the company (fields) are located in Brazil.

8. Jiangxi Copper – $ 34.28 billion

The largest copper producer in mainland China. The company’s activities include the extraction, grinding, smelting and refining of copper to produce copper-related products, including pyrite concentrates, sulfuric acid and electrolytic gold and silver.

9. Anglo American – $ 29.87 billion

British multinational mining company headquartered in London. The world’s largest producer of platinum, and also holds a large share of the world market in the production of diamonds, copper, nickel, iron ore, metallurgical and steam coal.

10. Aluminum Corporation of China (CHALCO) – $ 27.3 billion

Chinese company registered in Hong Kong and New York, headquartered in Beijing, PRC. The world’s largest producer of alumina and aluminum.

The top 10 largest oil and gas companies in the world

  1. Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabia)

The capitalization of the state-owned company (100% of the corporation is controlled by the government of the kingdom), headquartered in Dhahran, has grown this year to $ 1.88 trillion (later – to $ 2 trillion) from an initial estimate of $ 1.7 trillion. Over the past year, Saudi Aramco made a record worldwide profit, earning $ 111 billion on total revenues of $ 355.9 billion. Today it controls fields with oil reserves of about 260 billion barrels (99% of all reserves of Saudi Arabia), which is about a quarter of the world’s proven hydrocarbon reserves.

2. ExxonMobil (USA)

The American publicly traded company is one of the largest in the world in terms of market capitalization ($ 330 billion as of February 2019). Proved reserves at the end of 2018 were 24.293 billion barrels of oil equivalent, including oil – 9.26 billion barrels, natural gas – 1.467 trillion cubic meters.

3. Shell (Netherlands – UK)

According to Forbes Global 2000, it is the 11th largest publicly traded company in the world. Market capitalization – $ 251.59 billion (as of January 21).

Shell conducts geological exploration and production of oil and gas in more than 80 countries around the world. Proved reserves at the end of 2017 amounted to 12.233 billion barrels in oil equivalent, of which oil – 4.613 billion barrels, gas – 1.145 trillion cubic meters.

4. Chevron (USA)

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Publicly owned and the second after ExxonMobil integrated energy company in the United States, one of the largest corporations in the world. The main deposits (in terms of proved reserves) are located in the USA (29%), Australia (20%) and Kazakhstan (18%). Capitalization is $ 221.8 billion (as of March 20).

5. PetroChina (PRC)

Public Joint Stock Oil and Gas Company. PetroChina was established as part of the Chinese state-owned CNPC in November 1999. As part of the restructuring of CNPC, the assets for production, processing, petrochemicals and natural gas were transferred to PetroChina. The majority stake belongs to CNPC. Its capitalization is $ 198 billion (as of May 6).

6. BP (UK)

Public transnational oil and gas company headquartered in London. About a third of its revenue comes from its activities in the United States. Capitalization – $ 141.4 billion (as of March 10).

Oil and gas production is carried out in many parts of the world – both on land and on the shelf and in the open sea. Proved reserves at the end of 2017 amounted to 10.577 billion barrels of oil equivalent, of which oil – 4.803 billion barrels, gas condensate – 336 million barrels, natural gas – 893 billion cubic meters.

7. Total (France)

The publicly traded oil and gas company operates in more than 130 countries around the world. Capitalization – $ 127 billion (as of March 23).

The reserves are estimated at 11.1 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

8. Petrobras (Brazil)

Public Joint Stock Company. Its capitalization is over $ 101.7 billion (as of February 27). In 2010, Petrobras’ proven oil reserves amounted to 1.4 billion tons, gas – 309 billion cubic meters. In 2005, she owned 64 fields, of which 42 were offshore.

Petrobras operates in a number of countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Nigeria, Gabon, Tanzania, Mexico, USA (Gulf of Mexico).

9. Rosneft (Russia)

Public joint-stock oil and gas company, the controlling stake of which belongs to the state-owned Rosneftegaz. In 2013, it became the world’s largest oil producer. Capitalization – $ 67.9 billion (as of March 26).

Rosneft is engaged in exploration and production in all key oil and gas regions of the Russian Federation: Western Siberia, South and Central Russia, Timan-Pechora, Eastern Siberia, the Far East and the Arctic Ocean shelf. Leads the development of deposits in Abkhazia.

10. LUKOIL (Russia)

Public Joint Stock Oil Company. Its name comes from the first letters of the names of the cities of oil workers (Langepas, Urai, Kogalym) and the word “oil” from the English oil – oil. This is the second enterprise in the Russian Federation after Gazprom in terms of revenue (based on the results of 2014). Until 2007, LUKOIL was the largest oil company in the country in terms of production (Rosneft surpassed it after the purchase of Yukos assets). In terms of proven hydrocarbon reserves, LUKOIL, according to its own data, as of January 1, 2011 was the third private oil company in the world (first in terms of oil reserves). Capitalization – $ 66.7 billion (as of March 5).


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