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Articles on Metals

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Manganese nodules on the Atlantic Ocean floor off the southeastern United States, discovered in 2019 during the Deep Sea Ventures pilot test. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration

A rush is on to mine the deep seabed, with effects on ocean life that aren’t well understood

Companies are eager to mine the deep ocean for valuable mineral deposits. But scientists are concerned about impacts on sea life, including creatures that haven't even been discovered yet.
Artisanal small-scale gold mining polluted this stream and deforested sections of the Madre de Dios area of Peru. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Gold rush, mercury legacy: Small-scale mining for gold has produced long-lasting toxic pollution, from 1860s California to modern Peru

Small-scale gold mining operations in developing countries are major sources of toxic mercury pollution, using techniques that haven't changed much since the California Gold Rush 150 years ago.
Pictured is a slag pile at Broken Hill in New South Wales. Slag is a man-made waste product created during smelting. Anita Parbhakar-Fox

Our ability to manufacture minerals could transform the gem market, medical industries and even help suck carbon from the air

Manufacturing minerals is an expanding field of study. Making more of them could help alleviate various pressures faced by our growing population. But how are they made, and where can they be used?
Mineral processing tailings are pumped into a storage facility. Are there still valuable commodities in this waste?

Treasure from trash: how mining waste can be mined a second time

Identifying mine waste materials as economic resources will help support global demand for critical metals, boosting the mining industry during the downturn. All with environmental benefits.
Could municipal biosolids be a trove of tiny treasure? Heather Lowers, USGS Denver Microbeam Laboratory

Mining for metals in society’s waste

Mining waste rock from historic mines or even treated sewage to find useful metals and minerals could be a sustainable way to meet demand for these finite resources.
Shades of 60 elements that make a computer chip. intelfreepress

Metals in your smartphone have no substitutes

A few centuries ago, there were just a few widely used materials: wood, brick, iron, copper, gold and silver. Today’s material…

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