We often view mining correlated with terrestrial environments. However, growing demands on valuable Earth resources have required us to consider marine environments as a potential source. With the development of deep-sea technology, we are able to explore new deposits that, in the past, have been inaccessible. As ocean floor covers 70% of the Earth’s surface, we are now able to see this environment as a possible future for resource extraction.
As we saw in class, copper can be fairly easily extracted from malachite. The process involves crushing the malachite in order to increase its surface area and then mixing it with sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid and malachite create a solution composed of water, copper sulfate and carbonic acid. Steel is then added to the solution and the copper sulfate turns into native copper which collects on the steel.
Fresh water is a crucial resource in our country that we rely on everyday. Groundwater is defined as “underground water that has come mainly from the seepage of surface water and is held in pervious rocks[.]” A way of accessing this water is to drill into an aquifer, which is “a porous deposit of rock, such as a sandstone, containing water that can be used to supply wells[.]” However, surprising new research is beginning to reveal how much groundwater our nation has been consuming over the past century.
Copper has been a valuable metal for thousands of years and has many practical applications today. What makes copper so versatile is its malleability and its ability to conduct heat and electricity. Because of these characteristics, copper can be found in home plumbing and electric appliances. Within the last couple of decades, copper consumption on a global scale has increased dramatically.