The problem of mineral resources

If food resources have been used from time immemorial, the massive extraction of mineral raw materials in fact began only in the last decade. Of course, the cost of such raw materials while not rich: more than 90% of all resources extracted from the seabed, are oil and gas, while in the sea water is known to be dissolved almost the entire Mendeleev periodic table (including about 10 million tonnes of gold).
As the development of hydrocarbon deposits in the land value of these deposits of the oceans is increasing rapidly. When this is perceived more recently with scientific skepticism assumption of large oil and gas potential of marine areas have been confirmed in the course of exploration and exploitation of discoveries. In the early 90s offshore oil accounted for about a third of the total world production.
Geography of oil and gas up to the 80s almost entirely determined by four districts: the lagoon of Maracaibo (Venezuela), the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Guinea and Oil Rocks in the Caspian Sea. The energy crisis of the 70s provided the impetus for the expansion of the industry in other oil and gas the world's oceans, primarily in the North Sea. The latter is quite shallow, and its oil and gas offshore, divided mainly between the UK and Norway (small areas got Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and France), covers almost the whole of its waters.
Today, oil platforms, "dotted" Gulf Coast and California (USA), some parts of the countries of Southeast Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Derricks appeared off the coast of many underdeveloped countries (Nigeria, Angola, Congo, Zaire, and others.). Not yet drilling platforms off the coast of Antarctica, but few experts doubt that sooner or later they will appear there. The current state of geological knowledge of the ice continent suggests the presence here of several promising oil and gas basins. These include the east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula (including the shelf Filchner) area of ??approximately 700 thousand. Km2 and the area of the Ross Sea shelf.
Further development of the mineral resources of the ocean to a large extent will depend on the provision of scientific and technological. Already operating experimental work carried out at depths of up to 1000 m, although industrial oil production in rare cases is conducted at depths greater than 100 to 150 m. Were constructed underwater oil storage, the network of underwater pipelines. Created a special technology to work in the Arctic marine environment and in the Antarctic. The construction of oil and gas plants directly into the sea (despite strong protests of environmentalists).
In addition to oil and gas in the ocean contains tungsten and titanium ore, cassiterite (tin ore), monazite, zircon, chromite, sulfur, phosphates, and other minerals, the production of which may be effective today. Indeed, in Australia, Brazil, the United States with the beach consists of alluvial already mined titanium, zirconium, rare earth elements, offshore Alaska - gold and platinum, from the seabed in the Japanese islands - iron ore and coal. In some countries extracted from seawater magnesium salts, bromine potassium.
Speaking about the problem of development of mineral resources of the oceans, we can not forget about the desalination of sea water. Alembic to get fresh water by distillation has been known since ancient times. For 2,000 years, this method remains the simplest and most widely used in the navy. Along with the improvement of the distillation method is now widely used and other methods and processes: natural and artificial freezing (gazgidratny method); chemical processes of ion exchange (reagent methods); extraction methods; using membranes - hyperfiltration (electrodialysis); biological methods. Scientific and research in the search for ways and methods of desalination of sea water naturally led to a significant reduction in the cost of production. In large desalination plants (particularly in Kuwait and LasPalmase in the Canary Islands) 1 m of desalinated water has been around less than 10 cents.
In one context, the problem of seawater desalination can be considered daring, but it is almost fantastic transportation projects icebergs from the Antarctic coast. Reserves and continental ice shelves of the continent are about 20 million km3, with an annual ice continent "sends" the ocean about 2400 m3 of fresh water. In view of the Arctic icebergs of fresh water in the oceans at the same time is several times more than it is contained in all waters sushi.
At the end of the XX century. issue of transportation of icebergs gradually transformed from a purely theoretical into practice. Thus, there are estimates that when towing an iceberg weighing 100 million tons (1200-1500 m long, 300-400 m wide) in one of the ports of the "belt thirst" of Saudi Arabia at an allowable loss of 20% of the original volume of ice, you can get 80 million tons of water. With 1 m3 of water delivered must do in $ 0.5. Significant argument in favor of such a project can serve as a long-term experience transporting icebergs special rescue service offshore oil in pov Labrador. That there has been a case where a threatening Derricks powerful iceberg weighing several tens of millions of tons was a "lasso" ropes and taken aside by powerful tugs.
There are other projects to transport fresh water from the ice caps of Antarctica and Greenland. At the heart of one of them is the idea of ??the creation of nuclear power plants on the glaciers to melt ice, followed smuggle water via pipelines.