Date of Graduation

12-2022

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Geography (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Geosciences

Advisor

Steve K. Boss

Committee Member

Katia D. Fernandes

Second Committee Member

Adriana Potra

Keywords

Cement Manufacturing, Limestone, Limestone allocation, Quantity of limestone

Abstract

This study investigates the total per-capita allocation of limestone globally. Termed the Human Natural Resource Endowment (HNRE), it is calculated by subtracting the cumulative annual production from the ultimately recoverable reserve (URR) of limestone and dividing the difference by global population. HNRE represents a unique way of visualizing resource depletion by asking how much of a given resource can be allocated to each person on earth, and how long that allocation can last given multiple population and usage scenarios. The average American, born in 2021, will use approximately 23,930 kgs of cement in their lifetime, with similar demands globally. Demand for limestone is expected to rise between 43 to 72% by 2050, driven primarily by escalating urbanization. As such, scenarios depicting a 10...20...30% etc. increase in demand were conducted to determine the HNRE abundance of limestone. Initial production of limestone was calculated for a period of 96 years, starting in 1926, the year the US Geological Survey started tracking such metrics and ending in 2020, the latest year for which there is available data. Limestone is classified as an abundant mineral by the USGS, with an estimated global mass of 6.65x1020 kg and is not under any protected status. It is unlikely that global reserves will ever run low, but the human elements of the cement industry, such as physical and economic constraints (mining regulations, depth of reserves and import/export) are straining the cement industry to maximum capacity and cannot meet demand. As no resource can be depleted to zero and limestone is classified as an abundant resource, it is unlikely that reserves will be stressed soon. However, barriers to access, including physical and economic constraints, such as mining regulations, depth of reserves and import: export costs should be considered in future calculations total reserve mass.

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