End theory

A nonrenewable resource’s peak is the period after maximum production, when extraction inevitably begins to decline. All good things come to an end.

11: Nations whose uranium resources have already been exhausted. Some analysts say peak uranium was reached in the early 1980s. Today, four nations claim almost 60% of recoverable reserves.

20: Years of “known mineable reserves” of diamonds, according to Wall Street analyst Eugene King in 2015. De Beers expects diamond output to peak in 2017.

23: Predicted percent decline in the price of coal between 2013 and 2019, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. “Peak coal is coming sooner than expected [and] the industry does not require new investment,” the bank wrote last fall.

50 to 100: Years until global supplies of phosphate for fertilizer are depleted, according to Australia’s Global Phosphorus Research Institute. As supply dwindles, scientists expect more expensive food and conflict.

2014 or 2015: Year then Goldcorp Inc. CEO Chuck Jeannes marked as the beginning of declining global gold production. “I don’t think we will ever see the gold production reach these levels again,” he said in 2014. “There are just not that many new mines being found and developed.”

2030: Year Bernstein Research energy analyst Neil Beveridge predicts as the peak for global oil demand. Rather than declining supply, he cites fuel efficiency and the rise of alternative energy as the cause.

About the Author

Steve Brearton

Steve Brearton is a freelance writer in Toronto.

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