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By: Ashley December 14, 2019 Last Updated :December 16, 2019

10 Things You Didn't Know About The Mining Industry

Today we are talking about the impressive mining indusry. It might not be a subject you talk about with your friends over coffee but it is one of those industries that help the moden world get to this point. Mining in a wider sence includes the extraction of any non-renewable resource such as petroleum, natural gas, water or diamonds. Nowadays with the new digital media, mining also stands for other cyber activities that involve high-performance computers, some algorithms and digital currencies.

Swiching back to the hard and exploiting side of mining, we want to make it clear that just like any other industry, mining has its good sides, its bad sides, its fans and its protesters. It is one of the oldest industries on earth, so a lot has changed since it all started, but it has a significant economic and social impact on many regions. We are going to let you in on all the secrets and money-making companies that rule the mining industry, so let’s cut to the chase. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about the mining industry.

1. Asteroids are mined too.

Nothing in this galaxy goes unexploited if humans can reach it. We haven’t found the exact way or means to live and travel to other planets, but a few steps have been made so far, successful steps some might say. In order to understand what planets are made of, we need to put them under the microscope. Asteriod mining is the exploitation of raw materials from asteriods and other minor planets including near-earth objects even though there are many treaties state that the moon and other planets or satellites are the property of no state, only a few companies and states actually do research work and mining outside of our planet.

asteroids are mined too

human exploration in outer space

2. In England you can find one of the oldest mines dating from the Neolithic era.

As we mentioned in the intro, mining is one of the oldest jobs in the world. It is up there with fishing and construction. People used to mine for raw material so they could make basic objects like pottery, weapons or shelter. Throughout the years, this has changed a lot. One of the oldest mines dating back as far as the Neolithic era can be found in England. They are called the Grimes Graves in Norfolk, England. It was mined between 2600 and 2300 BC although production may have continued well into the bronze and iron ages. It is now open to the public and is one of the few sites in the world that date back to that era.

Grimes Graves

Grimes Graves in Norfolk, England

3. The mining industries is worth $896 billion.

Since the earth provides all the precious minerals and resources we use for so many things in our daily life, the demand for some of them is growing year by year. If you can’t imagine how big of an industry mining is, just know they hire 1% of the world’s working force last year only. Fifty of the most important and big mining companies gathered more than $896 billion, adding up to $140 billion in combined market capitalization. The industry has a bad period a few years ago, but it is now picking up and things are starting to do better. They are beginning to use new technologies and care more about communities and workers.

The mining industries is worth $896 billion

$896 billion of mining wealth

4. The world bank was involved in the privatization of many state-owned mines.

Where there is money, there is always a bank or financial institutions sticking its nose into it. We don’t blame them. Sometimes their interest is not the best or ethical, but in this case, banks had a lot to do with the whole process of privatizing state-owned mines. Since 1995, the mining industry has received a lot of attention from the World Bank. They offered more than 50 mines funding and insurance adding up to $2 billion. With this money, mines would attract foreign investors and in the end, being sold off to one of them migrating from a state-owned mine to a privately held mine. This process often leads to closing of businesses and therefore people losing their jobs and the industry they held for decades.

5. The biggest fraud had to do with gold mines and penny stocks.

If something sounds too good to be true, then most certainly it is people keep dreaming of big money wins overnight but it simply doesn’t exist. If it does more often than not, it is a scam. One of the biggest gold mining scandals was a huge fraud that people can now watch since it has been made into a movie called Gold. The story goes a little like this in the mid-90s. Bre-X claimed that gold deposit property in Indonesia was possibly the larges gold mine ever found, suggesting the deposit could turn out to be as large as 200 million ounces. In fact, there was only trace amounts of gold and that the rock samples were tampered with before the truth came out. Their penny stocks at one point were being sold for $200 per share in Canada, but in the end the investors lost somewhere close to $6 billion, making it the biggest fraud in the world so far.

Gold

a movie based on the true story

6. Diamond mines are used to finance wars and conflict areas in Africa.

They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but these kinds of best friends are very expensive and what most people don’t know is that the whole process of getting that diamond is dirty and most of the time illegal and unethical. Diamond mines in Africa have children working for them in war regions. They sometimes get killed if the work is not done properly and they don’t really get paid very much. The problem has been addressed in some movies and TV serials, but for most people, if it doesn’t happen in their neighborhoods, they don’t care about it. Even worse than having these children working in these mines is the fact that the diamonds are used to fund wars insurgencies or warlords. This is why they are labeled as blood diamonds and are illegal in some countries.

7. The United States has the world’s largest reserves of coal.

There are a few regions where key minerals can be found since ancient times. Precious metals and rocks are being mined even though a few natural resources are limited. Keep in mind that some countries don’t have mountains or seas, so they can’t explore oil or gold. For example, coal has been used for hundreds of years to run trains and as energy in factories. One of the biggest coal reserves lies in the US and it is currently being mined in 25 states. This industry employed over 50,000 people through the country and pumps serious cash into the GDP. The United States has 477 billion tons of demonstrable reserves of coal and the energy content of thsoe reserves exceeds that of oil and gas.

Types Amount
Mining Areas 25 states
Coal Industry Employees 50 thousand people
Coal Reserves 477 billion tons

8. Bingham Canyon mine can allegedly be seen from outer space.

Open-pit mines like copper mines uses surface mining techniques to extract rock or minerals from the earth. By their removal from an open-pit or burrow, these kinds of mines can spread on for miles and miles and go very deep. One of the biggest mines in the world is the Bingham Canyon mine near Salt Lake City, Utah. This mine is the largest man-made excavation in the world and it is considered to have produced more copper than any mine in history, more than 19 million tons. It has been in production since 1906 and resulted in the creation of a pit over 0.6 miles or 970 meters deep, 2.5 miles or 4 kilometers wide and covers 1900 acres or 770 hecares. Since it is so large, it can be seen from space along with other man-made constructions like the greenhouse of Almeria in Spain.

Bingham Canyon mine Data
Depth 0.6 miles or 970 meters
Width 2.5 miles or 4 kilometers
Area 1900 acres or 770 hecares
Bingham Canyon

Bingham Canyon mine

9. China is the leading gold producer in the world.

Gold in still one of the best currencies to invest in for now. At least even in times of war and financial crisis, gold’s value doesn’t fluctuate that much. Even banks have large reserves of gold because money loses value over time and real estate is a risky business. Pure gold with no traces of copper or other metals is actually soft and can be bent with bare hands. Most gold jewelry is not 100% pure, 24-karat gold because it is just not practical. One of the biggest gold producers in the world is China. Even though they only have 7% of the world’s gold reserves, they managed to rise up and be the biggest player now investing in other gold mines from Africa.

10. The future of mining lies on the ocean floor.

Our planet has been exploited from the beginning of time with the high demand for metals and fuel. In a few decades, oil will be gone for good so what then one place that has barely been exploited and researched is the ocean floor. A few submarines have been there but the conditions are so harsh that not much is known about it. It is believed that fossil fuels and precious metals are hiding beneath. Of couse such an operation will be an expensive and extremely dangerous one but most likely technology will step in and help.

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