It's important to know these locations, because sometimes
the governments of countries where certain minerals are
found may not allow trading with countries that do not
agree with some of their political policies.
Scientists usually have a good idea of how much of a
mineral is available for use. This is called a mineral
reserve. Some minerals may be around in enough quantities
that their reserves are measured in hundreds of years.
Others may be in such short supply that their reserves
may be measured in decades or years.
Dividing into groups, have a group research one of the
- Crude oil and natural gas
Other minerals can be used if desired.
Using encyclopedias or the Internet, locate where reserves
for each mineral can be found in the world. Mark these
areas on a world map. Note what the mineral is used for,
and what country uses the mineral the most. Also try to
find out how long known reserves are expected to last.
Have each group report their findings.
As a whole group, discuss what would happen if a particular
mineral was no longer available. Would the location of
a particular mineral affect the availability of this mineral
in the United States?