The North American Energy Dilemma - What Does It Mean for the Mining Industry?
North America has entered a period when greatly increased attention must be given to energy supply and demand by government, industry and individuals. Such increasing concern about energy will be a long-term phenomenon, accompanied by continuing examination of future resource development and utilization. Those engaged in or associated with mining, a major energy consumer, are likely to experience a variety of problems which are associated with the end of an era of low-cost, virtually unlimited energy supply. Their efforts, furthermore, may be subjected to escalating public and government scrutiny, involvement and control. However, ever-growing recognition of the real and urgent necessity to systematically develop new energy supplies within Canada and the United States will provide unusual challenges and opportunities for those companies and indjviduals with mining expertise. The vast deposits of coal, tar sands and oil shale provide a relative certainty of supply which only stands to gain in attractiveness with time. In order to benefit from this aspect of certain supply, nevertheless, synthetic fuels will have to be produced at a tolerable cost. This will always require excellent process design and engineering. As synfuels development expands to any significant production level, however, and less than ideal reserves are scheduled, the usual geologic-.~roductivity complexities encountered in making ore out of low-value rock will tend to become of prime concern. It is for this reason that the services of experienced mining personnel will be in growing demand in energy production.
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