Sustainable Development Through Resource Extraction Can Nonrenewable Resources Lead to a Sustainable Future?
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The long-term viability of an economic system that relies on the extraction of nonrenewable resources is prone to be questioned and criticized. In a relatively short period of human history the economy has reached a global scale, resulting in increased demand for natural resources as well as greater impacts from these activities. An underlying assumption of this research paper is that an immediate or near term decline in extractive activities is an unreasonable expectation, as demand for nonrenewable resources will continue to grow based on the emergence of developing economies. Recognizing this reality and responding to increased public pressure to account for the impacts of mining, the industry has embraced the concepts of sustainability and sustainable development as a means to improve its performance and reputation. The purpose of this paper is to review the validity of such an approach and determine if the extractive industry can make a legitimate contribution to sustainable development.