Courtesy Reuters

Mineral Resources and Peace

THE demand for mineral raw materials by the so-called "have not" nations has now become one of the major threats to world peace. Though minerals are not the only raw materials sought, they are the spearpoint of the demands for territorial or other concessions. Special reasons inherent in their use and distribution, moreover, make minerals extraordinarily important. In time of peace the expansion of industry steadily increases the demand for them, while preparations for war mean guns, ships, transportation facilities and mechanization in general, on an ever-expanding scale, with a correspondingly enlarged demand for minerals. The world's mineral resources are exhaustible; they are not reproducible; in many cases they occur within a narrow geographic range; they cannot be legislated into existence; substitutions are possible only to a limited degree.

The problem of mineral supplies in its present form is really new, because the scale of modern demand is immensely greater than anything in past history. While hundreds of scattered mineral deposits are still drawn on, the essential part of the world's production now comes from a very few sources which because of their size and location are capable of development on the necessary large scale. There are not enough of these large sources of supply to go around among the nations. In consequence it has been increasingly necessary to ship minerals internationally. The world has plenty of minerals, but no nation has anywhere near enough of all kinds to satisfy the needs of its own industrial development or to complete its preparations for war.

This situation developed so gradually up to the time of the Great War, so little hindrance was put in the way of the movement of minerals between nations, that the degree to which nations were dependent on foreign sources was not fully recognized. Whether national supplies came from domestic sources or from abroad, the assumption was that whatever was needed would be provided through ordinary trade channels. The war brought a rude awakening to the fact that

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