THE relative positions occupied by the nations of the world as regards the possession of mineral wealth can be concisely stated in statistical tables, and in the short period since the war these have become available for most of the world for the first time. Few people, however, care to take the time or have the technical background to interpret such tables. We shall therefore summarize the situation qualitatively in the hope of making a readable story. Many qualifications and details must necessarily be eliminated.[i]

By what mineral standards should nations be ranked? What minerals, out of the very long list of those entering into commerce, are essential to large industrial development or to the maintenance of agriculture?

First in importance, clearly, stand the mineral fuels and iron ore. The industrial position of a nation may be very well gauged by its consumption of power, which in turn is a function of the use of machines and fuels. Consequently, it is hard to overemphasize the importance of iron products, out of which machines are made, and of the mineral fuels which propel them. In 1928 the value of the world's pig iron production was three and a half times that of gold, and that of fuels was thirteen times as great.

Second in importance is the group of copper, lead and zinc used in commerce in large bulk. With these should probably be ranked the fertilizer group of minerals -- phosphate, potash, and nitrate (natural or synthetic), together with sulphur, used so largely in preparing fertilizers as well as in a vast range of manufacturing and refining operations.

No other mineral groups are so vital to national power and welfare as the foregoing, though others may of course constitute valuable assets. Industrial power cannot be built up on gold and silver. There is a long list of minerals used in minor quantities in the making of iron and steel, including nickel, manganese, chromite, fluorspar, vanadium, tungsten, and others. No one of these minerals and no combination of them is a basis for industrial development. Because of the relatively small quantities needed, they may be transported from far parts of the world to the industrial centers. Access to such minerals is necessary to countries with heavy industries, and their control is a matter of international concern. Much the same remarks can be made about asbestos, mica, mercury, graphite, antimony and tin. The mineral standing of countries can therefore be ranked principally on the basis of the two groups named in the two preceding paragraphs.

A well-balanced supply of the vital minerals affords a firmer basis for industry than the possession of one or a few of them in very large amounts. Countries possessing the secondary minerals must be given a lower ranking on the ground that no combination of these minerals will yield industrial power and that they will be tributary to the industry based on the first two groups. Experience has shown that the commercial advantage accruing to the country of origin is far less than that gained where the minerals are consumed as well as possessed.[ii]

THE UNITED STATES

From almost any point of view the United States is the outstanding mineral country. It is the largest owner, the largest producer, and the largest consumer of minerals. In all three ways the United States accounts for about 40 percent of the world's totals -- for some minerals, of course, much less than this, for others more. It is the only country in the world possessing adequate quantities of nearly all the principal industrial minerals and leads the world in the production of coal, oil, natural gas, iron, copper, lead, zinc, aluminum metal, phosphates, gypsum and sulphur. It also leads in the production of some minor minerals -- arsenic, borax, cadmium, molybdenum and talc. Nowhere else are the principal minerals grouped in such adequate quantities.

The output of energy in the United States from coal, oil, natural gas and water power amounts to nearly half of the world's total. As the total power available from man and beast is insignificant in comparison, it is not far out of the way to state that the United States today is actually doing nearly half of the world's work. For a long time in the early stages of the industrial revolution Great Britain held a preëminent position in the output of energy. In 1870 it was releasing about three times as much energy as the United States. Now the ratio is reversed, the United States producing three times as much as Great Britain. The two curves of production crossed about the opening of the century, but the significance of the crossing was hardly realized at that time. In fact, even now it is common to assume that this country owes much of its commercial prominence to the war, without taking into account the fact that energy output (which is one of the truest measurements of wealth) has been rising on a generally predictable curve for the last sixty years, regardless of war and financial disturbances.

The only minerals available in the United States in large quantities for export are coal, phosphates and sulphur, but if we add the minerals which it controls commercially in other countries, we may say that in addition the United States exports copper, oil, zinc and silver.

Notwithstanding its highly favored position, the United States depends almost entirely on foreign sources for several important minerals: antimony, chromite, manganese, nickel, tin, asbestos, bauxite, nitrates, platinum and potash; and it is very largely dependent on foreign sources also for mercury, tungsten, barite, china clay, fluorspar, graphite, magnesite, mica and pyrite. There are some supplementary imports of certain of the minerals -- iron ore, for instance -- which the United States possesses in adequate amounts, for the reason that delivery from abroad may be cheaper to certain plants than delivery from domestic points.

Looking into the future and taking account of increased consumption and diminishing sources of supply, we may conclude that before very long it will be necessary for us -- to meet our own needs alone -- to draw on the rest of the world for increasing quantities of oil, copper, iron, lead and a number of other minerals which we use in smaller quantities. The only fertilizer minerals which the United States possesses in adequate quantities are phosphates and sulphur. As yet the United States is dependent on Chile for much of its nitrate, but this dependence is being reduced with the development of the synthetic nitrate industry. Potash is now imported from Germany and France to the extent of about five times the domestic production, but the development of the latter is increasing. Especially notable is the deficiency of the United States in some of the common ferro-alloy minerals necessary in the making of steel, particularly manganese, chromite, nickel and vanadium. These are in the list classed as "key" minerals in war time.

It is natural that a mineral industry as large and thriving as that of the United States should undertake mineral exploitation in other parts of the world. The political or national considerations which often lead other countries (particularly Great Britain) to make this effort are secondary influences with the American mineral industry. It is primarily a question of commercial demand and profit. Among the important minerals outside of the United States in the control of which American commercial interests share are: copper in Chile, Peru, Canada and Rhodesia; vanadium in Peru; tin in Bolivia; iron ore in Cuba, Chile and Brazil; oil in Mexico, Venezuela and other South American countries, in the Dutch East Indies, and in Mesopotamia jointly with Great Britain, France and the Netherlands through the Turkish Petroleum Company; zinc in Canada, Newfoundland, Mexico, Peru and Poland; asbestos in Canada; gypsum in Canada; manganese in Brazil; chromite in Cuba, Canada and Brazil; aluminum in British and Dutch Guiana and in Europe. American activity in the acquisition of minerals outside the boundaries of the United States is on the increase. By far the larger part of the world's exploitation of mineral resources is now in the hands of the United States and Great Britain.

CANADA

Canada produces almost all the world's nickel, and exports susbtantial quantities of gold, silver, lead, copper, zinc, asbestos, cobalt and gypsum. Formerly it largely monopolized the asbestos market of the world, but is now giving way to South Africa as regards the higher grades. It lacks, in whole or in large part, iron ore, oil, tin, nitrates, potash and most of the ferro-alloy minerals. Its principal weakness is the absence of iron ore; the imports of iron ore and iron and steel products into Canada each year are about equivalent to the country's entire mineral production. Canada also imports nearly all of its oil. About half of its coal is imported, not because it does not possess coal -- its reserves are very large -- but because much of the developed coal is not of the best grade and is located principally in Alberta and Nova Scotia, whence the cost of transportation to the principal consuming centers in Ontario is larger than the cost of importing coal from the United States. A larger use of domestic coal is to be expected in the future. Canada's total mineral production is about 4 percent of that of the United States, and its production of the nonferrous metals is about 28 percent of that of the United States.

Canada is of special interest in that it contains one of the world's largest mineralized areas, as yet undeveloped. Exploration is going on here on a larger scale than almost anywhere else in the world, and discoveries are relatively frequent. The best outlook seems to be in the field of non-ferrous metals; there is comparatively little promise of improvement in the oil and iron ore situations. Copper and platinum, now being developed in the Sudbury nickel mines, will be important factors. Very little Canadian capital goes out of the country for mineral exploitation, but nearly half of the country's own production is controlled commercially by the United States and Great Britain.

The Canadian Government is taking an increasingly active part not only in exploration but in the mineral industry. A strong effort is being made to build up Canadian smelters and manufactures with a view to changing the position of the country from that of contributor of raw materials to one of industrial independence. The situation is of special interest from a world standpoint because of Canada's position between the two great exploiting countries of the world -- the United States and Great Britain -- which are in active competition to acquire her minerals. The question as to who will ultimately control them affords a good illustration of the general world problem.[iii]

MEXICO

Mexico's mineral consumption is small and a considerable part of all the minerals mined in the country is available for export. She is the principal silver producer of the world, and makes important contributions also in oil, lead, zinc, gold, copper, antimony, arsenic and graphite. For a time she was second in the world in oil production, but failed to conduct explorations to keep up with production.[iv] Coal is lacking in adequate amounts and good grades. Iron ore exists in scattered deposits of considerable size, but is not likely to be utilized for some years because the geographic distribution is not convenient and because the grade is not particularly desirable. Under these circumstances there is little chance for large industrial development. Further discoveries are likely in the group of non-ferrous minerals.

Mexico's minerals are dominated by outside capital, principally American and British, and in general serve as feeders to the established mineral industries of these two countries.

SOUTH AMERICA

South America has a very small consumption of minerals, and practically all those produced go to the principal industrial centers of the North Atlantic countries. Nowhere in South America is there a combination of essential minerals such as is necessary for great industrial development. The greatest lack is coal. Only in Chile, Peru, Brazil and Colombia are there coal reserves, and these are of such low grade that they are not suitable for important use. Mineral output is in many scattered units, not integrated with one another, but with North Atlantic industries.

Among the most important of the South American minerals is Chilean nitrate. Indeed, Chile is almost the world's exclusive source of natural nitrate. Copper is exported in large quantities from Chile and Peru. Peru has the largest and best vanadium deposit of the world, and also contributes lead and silver in minor amounts. The production of oil is important in South America and is gaining rapidly. At present Venezuela is second only to the United States in its oil production, but there are important contributions also from Peru, Colombia, Trinidad, Ecuador and Argentina. It is expected that these will increase as exploration and development proceed. Iron ore exists in important amounts in Brazil, and in smaller scattered deposits in Chile, Venezuela and elsewhere. Iron ores from Chile are now being shipped to the United States, and in the near future will be exported to North Atlantic points from Brazil. Other minerals being produced on a world scale by various South American countries include the tin of Bolivia (23 percent of the world total), platinum from Colombia (28 percent), bauxite from the British and Dutch Guianas (25 percent) and manganese from Brazil (8 percent).

Nearly all of the South American governments are making an effort to tighten their hold on mineral resources, as a defensive reaction against the exploitation of their countries by United States and European capital, but there is no indication that the effort can anywhere result in complete independence. South America as a whole is likely to remain essentially a feeder of raw materials to the great industrial centers of the world.

ENGLAND AND THE BRITISH EMPIRE [v]

Great Britain is the great competitor of the United States for the control of the world's minerals, but within its own boundaries it has supplies of only a few of them. It almost completely lacks aluminum, antimony, chromite, copper, manganese, mercury, nickel, tungsten, zinc, asbestos, graphite, magnesite, mica, nitrates, petroleum, phosphates, potash, pyrites, sulphur, talc and soapstone. It has less than adequate quantities of lead, tin, barite and gypsum. Of the few minerals it possesses, only coal, fluorspar and china clay figure largely in export. The iron ore, while abundant, is of low grade and even for domestic consumption must be supplemented by the importation of high grade ores to the extent of nearly half (in metallic content) of the local production. British coal, by virtue of its high grade, its proximity to the coast, and the fact that Great Britain is so largely a maritime nation, has in the past figured more largely in international trade than any other mineral commodity. For a long time it made up about two-thirds of the total tonnage of British exports, and was therefore the principal balance for the necessary large imports of other raw materials. England still leads the world in its export of coal, but it is losing its preëminent position because of increased competition from without and increased cost at home.

If all the mineral resources of the British Empire were considered as a single group the combination would be a very strong one, probably superior to that presented by the United States. It would lack only such minor minerals as antimony, potash, mercury, sulphur, talc, soapstone, nitrates, barite and magnesite; and its oil resources might be inadequate. A notable fact is the British Empire's commercial control of more than 70 percent of the world's gold production. It produces more than 43 percent of the world's tin, and through smelters and refineries commercially controlled by its nationals handles slightly more than 80 percent of the world's total.

CONTINENTAL EUROPE

If all the mineral resources of continental Europe were pooled they would rank in variety and abundance with those of the United States. There would still be deficiencies in copper, lead and zinc, which the United States has in abundance. On the other hand, Europe has supplies of potash, mercury and manganese, which are missing in the United States. Like the United States, it must go to other parts of the world for its tin, nickel and nitrates. The minerals of Europe are handicapped in competition with the United States by the fact that they are divided among many small competing commercial organizations and by the political barriers (particularly tariffs) set up in the way of their common use. Pooling of interests in one form or another is here and there bringing together the mineral industries of the various countries, and the process is likely to go further. A notable instance is the rapid advance of the European iron and steel industry through mutual understandings and coöperative arrangements. It is interesting that the post-war tendency in Europe has been to restore the pre-war functioning of industries based on natural groupings of raw materials, regardless of new political lines.

The great part played in human history by the Mediterranean peoples has led in some quarters to the hope of their rejuvenation along western industrial lines. But whatever advances may be made in other fields of activity, as regards mineral resources there is nothing in this entire region that promises anything like the industrial development of middle Europe and the United States. Especially notable are its deficiencies in coal and iron, to say nothing of many other important minerals. Whatever advances are made in the future must be on lines other than those of the great industrial revolution based primarily on adequate mineral supplies.

Let us now take up some of the principal countries of Europe more specifically.

France. Within its own boundaries France has large quantities of bauxite (aluminum ore), iron ore, gypsum, potash (Alsace), talc and soapstone, but is preëminent only in the production of bauxite. It almost completely lacks asbestos, chromite, copper, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, tin, tungsten, zinc, graphite, mica, nitrates, petroleum, magnesite, fluorspar and sulphur. Furthermore, domestic supplies must be largely supplemented by imports in the case of antimony, barite, china clay, coal, phosphates and pyrite.

The outstanding deficiency from the industrial standpoint is the limited supplies of coal of a proper coking grade, and of oil, copper, lead and zinc. The deficiency in iron ore has now been made up by the acquisition of Lorraine. French capital has purchased the majority of the properties owned by Germans. Efforts to secure supplies outside the boundaries of France have been largely confined to the French colonies and mandates. In this way France has acquired an exportable surplus of chromite and nickel from New Caledonia, graphite from Madagascar, and phosphates from North Africa, and has made up part of its deficiency in lead, iron, manganese and zinc from North Africa.

Germany. Within its own boundaries Germany has an abundance only of non-metallic minerals -- coal, barite, fluorspar, gypsum, nitrates and potash. Coal and potash are the outstanding assets. Germany's potash is almost a world monopoly, and her coal is the basis of her great industrial development, principally in the Ruhr valley. Germany needs large supplementary imports of copper, iron, lead, china clay, graphite, mica, talc and soapstone. The minerals which are almost completely lacking make a formidable list -- bauxite, antimony, chromite, manganese, mercury, nickel, tin, tungsten, zinc, asbestos, magnesite, petroleum, phosphates, pyrite and sulphur. There is some possibility that exploration now under way will supply the deficiency in oil. No other large industrial nation has so small a control of essential minerals either at home or abroad.

Notwithstanding Germany's many mineral deficiencies, its possession of coal and iron enabled it before the war to build up an iron and steel industry second only to that of the United States, and through its smelting, refining and manufacturing capacity to exercise a considerable control on the flow of world minerals. As a result of the war it lost all but an insignificant part of its iron ores, its principal lead and zinc ores, and an important but not the larger part of its coal. Also, its commercial control over zinc ore from Broken Hill, Australia, was disrupted and this flow of zinc was deflected to England and Belgium.

Since the war Germany has started with its usual energy and skill to restore its manufacturing and smelting enterprises on the basis of foreign supplies of minerals. Already the pre-war scale of importation has been reached or surpassed for antimony, asbestos, bauxite, chrome ore, copper, gypsum, iron ore, nickel, pyrite, quicksilver, sulphur and tin. Importations of lead, manganese and zinc, however, are still far under the pre-war scale. It is an interesting question for the future whether the possession of coal, together with manufacturing plant, organizing power and enterprise, will be sufficient for Germany to overcome her deficiencies in raw materials. Production of pig iron and steel is now approaching pre-war figures. In 1923 and 1924 France, including the Saar, surpassed Germany in pig-iron production and has almost equalled Germany since. In those years it also almost equalled Germany in steel production, but since then has fallen behind relatively. The center of gravity of the great iron and steel industry of western Europe is shifting back to Germany, and the shift will be more obvious when the Saar is returned. In all steel industries the supply of coking coal has determined the center of manufacture.

The first and most important step in German rehabilitation is now being taken, namely, the reaching of commercial and political agreements with France and Poland to restore the efficiency of the industries based on the resources formerly controlled by Germany. The Lorraine iron ore and the Ruhr coal, with the complementary German and French smelting and manufacturing plants, constitute a great natural unit, the dominant industry of western Europe, no part of which can be operated to best advantage without the rest. Much the same is true of the German-Polish zinc industry. World competition is forcing coöperation, and this requires the lowering of political barriers.

Belgium. The only minerals found in quantity within the boundaries of Belgium are iron, barite, coal and phosphates, and these exist in amounts inadequate for domestic needs and must be largely supplemented by imports. Belgium's commercial control outside its boundaries has mainly involved copper, cobalt and tin in the Congo. Through its possessions in the Congo and its domestic reduction facilities, Belgium is becoming self-sustaining in tin and is materially increasing its exportable surplus. Through its activities in smelting zinc ores from foreign sources it has made itself the world's principal exporter of zinc metal and the principal broker in the world's zinc market.

Spain. Spain has an exportable surplus of copper, iron, lead, zinc, manganese, mercury and pyrite, and adequate amounts for its own use of tungsten, barite, fluorspar, graphite, gypsum, talc and soapstone. Its domestic consumption is small. Its iron ore production is dwindling. Together with Italy it produces most of the world's mercury. For the rest, its minerals are in inadequate amounts or entirely lacking. Vital deficiencies are coal and oil. British capital dominates most of the Spanish minerals.

Spain's only effort to develop minerals outside of its boundaries is in Spanish Morocco, and even there this activity is left largely to other nations. Iron ore is its principal development thus far.

Italy. Italy has an exportable surplus in aluminum, mercury, zinc, barite, graphite, sulphur, talc and soapstone, but its only world leadership -- that in mercury -- is shared with Spain. Its reserves of iron, lead, fluorspar, gypsum, potash and pyrite are sufficient for its own limited use. Other minerals are entirely lacking or are present in inadequate amounts.

The Italians are not active in exploration for minerals, though they now are putting forth some effort in their own colonies in North Africa. There is evidence that the present Italian government is giving much more attention to this subject than formerly.

Sweden and Norway. Outside of large quantities of high grade iron ore in Sweden, of great importance to the future of the European steel industry, the Scandinavian countries do not possess minerals of great consequence in the world perspective. Their nationals show little activity outside their own boundaries.

Russia. Russia has a large exportable surplus of platinum, manganese and petroleum. Together with Colombia it now dominates the world's platinum market. It exports about 8 percent of the world's graphite and a small amount of coal. Its supplies of coal, iron, pyrite, gold, asbestos, salt and chromite are adequate for domestic consumption. Copper, lead, zinc and other minerals are known in minor amounts. The vast extent of Russia's unexplored country, together with her low consumption of minerals, make it difficult to appraise her future position in world mineral production. Production is rapidly increasing under the Five Year Plan, but as yet there is little indication of developments in excess of its own growing needs, except for the minerals now exported.

AFRICA

Africa's outstanding contributions have been the gold and diamonds of South Africa, both of which dominate the world production. Rhodesia produces about half of the world's chromite. In addition, there are reserves of copper in the Congo, lead and zinc in Algeria, tin in Nigeria, manganese in the Gold Coast and Egypt, phosphates in Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria, and graphite in Madagascar. Coal and iron in considerable amounts seem to exist only in South Africa, where there is promise of a self-sustaining iron and steel industry sufficient to meet local needs. Smaller iron ore supplies exist in Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, where they are mined for export. Still others are reported from various sources, but none of them are known to be important. Oil production is now confined to Egypt, and Africa as a whole does not yet promise large production for the future. Copper development in the Congo and Rhodesia, however, is coming forward rapidly, and it is not impossible that this may prove to be the world's largest future source of copper. Other developments anticipated for the future are increases in the production of manganese in the Gold Coast and South Africa, of tin in Nigeria, of chromite, asbestos and platinum in South Africa, and of graphite in Madagascar.

The minerals of Africa are dominated by British and European capital, and American capital figures largely only in the case of the Rhodesian coppers. Local consumption being insignificant, all minerals move toward North Atlantic industrial centers. Africa, like Canada and South America, is the battlefield of competing exploitation by North Atlantic interests. Most of the continent, unlike South America, is controlled politically by the same countries from which the forces of exploitation originate, and there are many interesting political aspects of the competition for the control of raw materials.

AUSTRALIA

Australia produces a considerable variety of minerals, but none of them figure largely in world production except lead, zinc, gold and silver. Formerly it was a larger producer of both gold and silver, but its output has now fallen off. It is dependent on outside sources for its petroleum. Coal and iron exist in adequate amounts, and the iron and steel industry of New South Wales is approaching a position where it can take care of Australian requirements. Iron ore is being exported to Japan. Australian minerals are largely controlled by English capital, but the Australian Government is taking active steps to make the country industrially independent and to divert its minerals to its own industries.

THE FAR EAST

It is a common belief that large undeveloped mineral resources exist in the Far East, but this is hardly justified by the facts. In discussions of the "challenge of Asia," the "awakening of the Far East" and the "yellow peril" there is usually either an expressed or concealed assumption that the mineral resources are there to serve as the basis for an industrial development when the time comes. This assumption has been questioned by mineral specialists who, from various studies, have agreed that while important deposits exist, they are of a variety and are so distributed that they seem to offer little chance for a large industrial development.[vi]

The Far East produces a rather imposing aggregate of minerals, although it is far short of the total produced either in the United States or in Europe. However, the sources are scattered among so many nations that they do not constitute an adequate basis for independent industrial development. Local consumption is small. A very large part of the mineral production of the Far East therefore flows toward the North Atlantic and is controlled by the industries of that region.

China meets the largest part of the world's requirements for two minor minerals, tungsten and antimony, and also produces an appreciable amount of tin. Lead, zinc, tin, tungsten, oil and silver are contributed by Burma, but only to a minor extent on the world scale. Japanese copper production meets the local demands, but the iron ores are inadequate. Manchuria produces small amounts of coal and iron. The Malay Peninsula and adjacent parts of the Dutch East Indies dominate the world's tin production, with 55.6 percent of the total. The Dutch East Indies contribute 2.6 percent of the world's petroleum. India holds first place in the world's production of high grade manganese ore with 35 percent, and of sheet mica with 65 percent. Something less than 6 percent of the world's gold comes from India, Korea, Japan, China, and the East Indies.

The key to the industrial situation is the question of coal and iron. Japan, with the best organization and industrial development and with the highest consuming power, has little coal and iron within its own boundaries, and is attempting to make up its deficiency by the development of coal and iron in Manchuria. The coal supply is large, but not of the best grade. The Manchurian iron ore is extremely low grade and requires beneficiation. Commercial success is as yet doubtful. In the meantime Japan has brought in iron ore in small quantities from Korea, China, Malay, and now from Australia. China has plenty of high grade coal, but insufficient iron ore; she has other industrial minerals in adequate amounts. India has an abundance of high grade iron ore but only a limited supply of coal of proper coking quality. The Philippines and the Dutch East Indies have large reserves of medium grade iron ore of a mineral content which causes difficulties in smelting, but they have no large amounts of coking coal. If the coal of northeastern China could be brought together with the high grade iron ores of India and possibly with the iron ores of the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies, a large industrial advance might be possible. The distances might not prove insuperable obstacles in these days of improved transportation. Iron ore is now being moved from Australia to Japan and from Chile to the United States, and there are many other examples of long distance hauls of minerals in great bulk. But the political difficulties involved are not likely to be surmounted for a long time to come.

The rôle of the Far East is therefore likely to remain essentially that of a contributor of a few minerals from scattered sources to the North Atlantic industries. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the pooling of the mineral resources of all the Far East, such as they are, would probably do more toward the physical betterment of the Far Eastern peoples than any other commercial measure now in sight. Commercial interests are already studying the problem, and are even making moves toward coöperation. On the other hand, the political movement just at present is toward disintegration.

THE SITUATION REVIEWED

The table[vii] on the opposite page summarizes graphically the position of some of the consuming countries with reference to the principal minerals. The black circles indicate by their position the extent to which the country in question is able to supply its needs of the mineral in question from within its own political boundaries; stars are used to indicate that the status of the country is improved when minerals under the commercial or political control of that country, but situated outside its boundaries, are included with the domestic resources. Some of the salient points revealed are as follows:

1. The United States occupies a prominent position both as a consumer and producer of minerals from within its own boundaries and as an active agent in mineral exploration and production in other countries.

2. Second in importance is the United Kingdom. It holds its position not by virtue of the minerals within its boundaries, but by its wide financial control in other territories, particularly in the British Empire. United States and British capital together control fully three-fourths of the world's mineral resources.

3. Third stands western Europe, if we consider it as a unit. No single European country has an outstanding group of mineral resources.

4. No other countries or groups control mineral supplies adequate for industrial development on a corresponding scale, notwithstanding their possession of large supplies of particular minerals. Such minerals as they have are mostly controlled by capital of North Atlantic countries and serve in the main as feeders to the industries of those countries. South Africa, Russia and Australia are the only outlying regions which have minerals adequate to permit the growth of independent industries. Asia has a possibility for industrial development if its widely scattered resources could be operated under unit control.

5. Exploitation of the world's minerals emanates from the industrial centers of the North Atlantic. In regard to mineral supplies there is no such thing as equality of nations. In so far as such supplies have contributed to the political and financial dominance of the North Atlantic countries in the past, there is no marked change in sight for the future.

6. Finally, not even the most favored nation is entirely self-sustaining in minerals, nor can it be made so. The interdependence of the nations and specialization in mineral production have been determined once and for all by nature's distribution of minerals.

[i] Cf. "World Minerals and World Politics," by C. K. Leith, to be published shortly by McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York.

[ii] This discussion makes no reference to water, which from some points of view should be put at the head of the mineral list. Its story, however, is a separate one. Water is an environmental factor, like soil, climate and geography, influencing all human activities.

[iii] Cf. "Canada's Minerals and Their International Implications," by C. K. Leith, Mining and Metallurgy, October, 1929, pp. 463-467.

[iv] Venezuela has now taken second place in oil production.

[v] Canada, Australia and Africa are discussed under separate headings, but a general view is here given.

[vi] "Ores and Industry in the Far East," by H. Foster Bain, Council on Foreign Relations, New York, 1927.

"The Mineral Resources of the Far East," by C. K. Leith, FOREIGN AFFAIRS, Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 433-442.

[vii] Adapted from Charts 1 and 2, "Mineral Raw Materials," by J. W. Furness and L. M. Jones, Trade Promotion Series, No. 76, Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, U. S. Dept. of Commerce, 1929, pp. 4-7.

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  • C. K. LEITH, Professor of Geology in the University of Wisconsin, Technical Adviser to the American Commission to Negotiate Peace, 1918--19
  • More By C. K. Leith