The debate over peak oil production has so far obscured the fact that other raw materials appear to follow similar curves that peak and then go into permanent decline. For example, look at the history of UK coal production.
In the US, using Energy Information Agency assumptions, coal will peak in 2060. However, as with most EIA assumptions, these are most likely too optimistic. Gregson Vaux calculates that with natural gas production peaking in North America, demand for coal will grow. (Already most new power plant that are being ordered are coal fueled.) With this added demand, Vaux calculates that U.S. coal production will peak around 2032. When it does, this will mark the absolute end of the hydrocarbon era in the U.S.
Other raw materials have already gone well past peak. Arsenic production has been in decline since the late 1940s.
And Manganese production has dropped to virtually nothing.
These raw materials have been replaced by imports, but energy sources will be harder to replace. The inexorable truth that there are limits to growth is creaping up on us whether we care to admit it or not.