National Geographic : 1974 Oct
Will we run out of metal? Or can we keep on recycling over and over? Both are possibilities, only possibilities. Certainly the world mineral sup plies are limited. More critical, however, is the increasing cost of extracting the ores and reclaiming the land from which they come. U. S. mineral reserves are declin ing in quality and accessibility. We are heavily dependent now on imports. We can never be entirely self-sufficient. Recycling can effect costs and probably postpone shortages. But even if everything were recycled, we'd still need great volumes of new metal ore each year. How much will it cost to meet our needs from lower grade ores? No one knows for sure. To find out, we should take in ventory now. We should explore both private and public lands to learn just what mineral resources we have. Then we can estimate cost of responsible development; meeting strict standards for en vironmental quality in both min ing and processing. We should encourage such re sponsible exploration and devel opment worldwide. And we must help keep world trade channels open so vital minerals are avail able to all countries. Caterpillar has a stake in this be cause we manufacture machines used in ore production. And we need a reliable supply of metal to provide 59,000 U.S. jobs. We share every citizen's desire to continue to enjoy the benefits of an economy that simply could not exist without minerals. There are no simple solutions. Only intelligent choices. Caterpar CATERPILLAR Caterpillar.Catand W areTrademarksof CaterpillarTractorCo.