DeYoung and Menzie (1999) examined the relations among population, Gross Domestic Product, and mineral consumption (aluminum, cement, copper, and salt) for Japan, Korea, and the United States between 1965 and 1995. They noted the extremely rapid growth of consumption in Korea between 1975 and 1995. Concomitantly, Korea's population growth rate declined.
This paper extends that earlier work by examining patterns of consumption of these same commodities in the twenty most populous countries for the period 1970 through 1995. Developed countries, such as France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, show patterns of consumption that are stable (cement, copper, and salt) or grow slowly (aluminum). Some developing countries, including China, Thailand, and Turkey, show more rapid growth of consumption, especially of cement, copper, and aluminum. These changing patterns of mineral consumption in developing countries have important implications -- if they continue, there could be major increases in world mineral consumption and major increases in environmental residuals from mineral production and use. If China reaches the level of consumption of copper of developed countries, world consumption could reach levels more than twice that of 1995 (10.5 million tons).
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USGS Numbered Series
Some implications of changing patterns of mineral consumption