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Geology 2022

Simon Peter Michaux

Simon Peter Michaux, Speaker at Geology Conferences 2022
Geological Survey of Finland, Finland
Title : Minerals are the new oil


Energy is the master resource.  It allows and facilitates all physical work done, the development of technology and allows human population to live in such high-density settlements like modern cities.  The current industrial ecosystem is dependent on fossil fuels, with petroleum (oil) fueled Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) technology being particularly relevant.  The task to phase out fossil fuels is now at hand.  Most studies and publications to date focus on why fossil fuels should be phased out.  Very few have examined the practicalities of doing so.  Technologies to phase out fossil fuels and substitute ICE vehicle systems have been developed and are viable.  The estimated sum total of extra annual capacity of non-fossil fuel power generation to phase out fossil fuels completely, and maintain the existing industrial ecosystem, at a global scale was 37 670.6 TWh. 

There are practical bottlenecks when scaling up these non-fossil vehicle systems like Electric Vehicles (EV’s) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to completely replace what ICE vehicles do now.  As this system has not been yet constructed, it cannot be recycled.  Thus, the source of metals will have to come from the mining of minerals.

The quantity of metals to manufacture just one generation of EV batteries and stationary power storage batteries is so large that both annual mining production and stated global reserves of the relevant metals was not sufficient.  Fossil fuels, oil in particular provide a high calorifically dense source of energy.  To replace this energy source, non-fossil fuel systems will have to be constructed, requiring an unprecedented quantity of metals.  In the past 200 years, oil was the most strategically significant raw material.  A case can be made the for the next industrial era, minerals will take oil’s place as the master resource.


Associate Professor of geometallurgy at the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK) in KTR, the Circular Economy Solutions Unit.  Basic degree Bach App. Sc in Physics and Geology, Phd in Mining Engineering from JKMRC University of Queensland.  Work experience 18 years in the Australian mining industry in research and development, 12 months at Ausenco in the private sector, 3 years in Belgium at the University of Liege researching Circular Economy and industrial recycling.  Work experience in Finland has been at GTK has been in the Minerals Intelligence in the MTR unit, before joining the KTR. Mineral processing and geometallurgy being developed.

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