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Luis G Carmona, Kai Whiting, Alicia Valero, and Antonio Valero (2015)

Colombian mineral resources: An analysis from a Thermodynamic Second Law perspective

Resources Policy, 45:23–28.

Abstract Natural non-renewable resources, such as minerals, are becoming increasingly depleted against a backdrop of intense industrialisation. Through the exergy analysis and thermoeconomic tools it is possible to assign a figure to the degree of depletion. This is because the exergy replacement cost represents the effort needed by humankind to return minerals to their original conditions from the "commercially dead state", Thanatia. The authors undertake an evaluation of the ten most significantly produced minerals in Colombia, since 1990. Via the 2011 mineral balance, this paper shows that the highest exergetic losses are in the extraction for export and not national consumption rates. The loss in mineral wealth, quantified in exergy terms for 2011 is 119.2 Mtoe (4.99–109 GJ) and has, since 1990, accumulated to 1,543.4 Mtoe (6.46–1010 GJ). In converting these losses into economic terms, it becomes clear that the nation must re-think its mineral export strategy, if it is develop sustainably.

Exergy, Thermoeconomics, Mineral depletion, Colombia, Thanatia

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