Web site navigation : home > Antarctica > Land and Climate of Antarctica > Mineral Resources in Antarctica

Search this website ::

Land and Climate of Antarctica

Mineral Resources in Antarctica

Although only about 1 percent of the continentís ice-free areas have been surveyed for minerals, evidence indicates that Antarctica contains rich mineral deposits. The Transantarctic Mountains contain huge deposits of coal as well as copper, lead, zinc, silver, tin, and gold. The Prince Charles Mountains of East Antarctica are rich in iron ore; the Antarctic Peninsula contains copper and molybdenum ores; and the Dufek Massif includes ores of chromium, platinum, copper, and nickel. It is also believed that deposits of petroleum and natural gas exist in the continental shelf regions, such as the area under the Ross Sea. Although Antarctica has prospects for mineral development, there are concerns about the potential environmental and political impacts of this development. In 1991 the signatory nations of the Antarctic Treaty agreed to a 50-year moratorium on commercial mining activity. The only mineral resources currently used are sand, gravel, and crushed rocks for constructing airstrips and building foundations at the scientific stations.

Search this website ::