For the InstructorThese student materials complement the Humans' Dependence on Earth's Mineral Resources Instructor Materials. If you would like your students to have access to the student materials, we suggest you either point them at the Student Version which omits the framing pages with information designed for faculty (and this box). Or you can download these pages in several formats that you can include in your course website or local Learning Managment System. Learn more about using, modifying, and sharing InTeGrate teaching materials.
Welcome to the student page for the Human's Dependence on Mineral Resources module! Although you may not know it, mineral resources are mined and used in almost every product you use, and even several that you eat. Because mineral resources are used to make things, mining depends on factors such as economics, existing and new technologies, amounts of material recycling and use, and population. The extraction and use of resources also has consequences, some beneficial and some harmful. These consequences affect a variety of people in different parts of the world, at the time these mineral resources are mined as well as in the future. The geologic processes that form mineral deposits create resources that are often finite and unevenly distributed. Therefore, managing the demand and use of mineral resources has been and will continue to be a global challenge.
Unit 1 defines mineral resources, addresses their uses (and investigates patterns of resource use), and gives an introduction to the processes that form these resources (aka the rock cycle). The final part of this unit relates mineral resources to consumption, economic development, and common uses.
- Online Reading about Minerals, Mineral Resources, and an Introduction to the Rock Cycle.
- Reading about Minerals, Mineral Resources, and an Introduction to the Rock Cycle in PDF. (Acrobat (PDF) 16.3MB Oct1 14)
- PowerPoint about Minerals and Mineral Resources. (PowerPoint 5.2MB Sep30 14)
- PowerPoint about the Rock Cycle. (PowerPoint 1.7MB Aug20 14)
- Unit 1 Glossary of Terms. (Microsoft Word 25kB Oct7 14)
- Concept Map Practice in Word (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 362kB Apr21 14) and in PDF. (Acrobat (PDF) 305kB Apr21 14) This concept map shows the rock cycle with some concepts removed. To test your understanding of these concepts, try to fill in the blank boxes. You can check your answers against the concept map printed in the reading assignment. You should also determine how this concept map links with the one you drew in class: How can the two maps be linked together?
- BBC's Elemental Business---Tin is a radio story originally aired on BBC's Business Daily, January 29, 2014. Search for 'BBC Elemental Business' for more examples of mineral resources and their economic and political importance.
- Global Population Growth, Box by Box is a TED talk about economic development and resource use.
Unit 2 deals with how economics drives mineral resource extraction (mining and processing), stressing that minerals are mined to satisfy consumer demand. There is no general reading for this unit; however, you are encouraged to study and attempt to understand the concept map before class.
- Learning Objectives for This Unit---and Some Questions to Test Your Understanding.
- A Concept Map Showing Some Relationships between Mining and Economic/Societal Factors. (Acrobat (PDF) 304kB Sep26 13)
- Online Reading and Concept Map: Tellurium and Solar Cells.
- Online Reading and Concept Map: Cobalt and Wars in Congo.
- Online Reading: Lithium and Cobalt Mining.
- Background Material for Unit 2 REE Word version. (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 1.3MB Oct2 14) and PDF version (Acrobat (PDF) 1.4MB Oct2 14)
- Unit 2 REE Glossary of Terms. (Acrobat (PDF) 43kB Oct2 14)
- REE Concept Map. (Acrobat (PDF) 98kB Oct2 14) An example of a concept map showing how REE economics can drive exploration for new mineral reserves.
Unit 3 addresses how mineral resources are mined and processed, how these processes affect the land and ecosystems, and influence, and are influenced by, economic and societal factors.
- Online Reading about Mining and Mining Impacts.
- Reading about Mining and Mining Impacts in PDF. (Acrobat (PDF) 2.4MB Oct4 14)
- PowerPoint about Mining and Mining Impacts. (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 44.4MB Oct4 14)
- Unit 3 Glossary of Terms. (Acrobat (PDF) 60kB Oct4 14)
- A Can of Soda Post-Class Reading. (Acrobat (PDF) 87kB Oct4 14)
- Additional interesting articles about mining technologies:
- Check out the Seismic Survey Animation to see how seismics work.
- Working Like A DOG.
- Mineral "Fingerprints" to Aid More Cost-Effective Exploration.
- Check out the Bubble Mining (about 5 minute) video to see more about one method of flotation (Jameson Cell).
- If you have not already done so, check out this 5-minute video of blasting at a surface mine: The World's Largest Recorded Mining Blast.