Mining Trivia

In the mood for some mining trivia? courtesy of Mining IQ:

Mining in the USA Employs
Record Numbers:

Nearly 270,000 people work directly in mining throughout the United States. Employment in industries that support mining accounts for nearly 3 million additional jobs. Source

Children and Mining

A newborn infant will need a lifetime supply of:

  • 800 pounds of lead
  • 750 pounds of zinc
  • 1,500 pounds of copper
  • 3,593 pounds of aluminum
  • 32,700 pounds of iron
  • 26,550 pounds of clays
  • 28,213 pounds of salt
  • 1,238,101 pounds of stone, sand, gravel and cement


Mining World Safety Record Holder: Sishen Mine

This mine is one of the world’s seven largest open-pit mines and is the site of several mining world records such as the safety record:

  • LTIFR per 200 000 hours in 2009:
  • 0,08 with zero fatalities in the last
  • 16 months.


Largest gold mine in the world: The Grasberg Mine

This mine is in Papua, Indonesia. It produced 58,474.392 kilograms of gold in 2006. Source

Largest Coal Hauler:
Wyoming Manufacturer

By any measure, it’s a big, big truck. The truck can haul 447 tons of coal. That’s enough coal to fill more than 4 1/2 railroad cars. That’s enough coal to fill an average-sized house from floor to ceiling. That’s enough coal to fuel a power plant for an entire day. And now, Guinness World Records recognizes the three-story truck’s ability to haul that much coal.

While the huge haul truck is a standard but still large design, its custom-built body — the tippable back portion of the truck that carries the coal — is what got Guinness’ attention. The London-based authority on global records recently awarded the body’s manufacturer, Mills-based Westech, a certificate for its custom-built unit designed for a Wyoming mine. Source

Heaviest Naturally
Occurring Element

Uranium is the heaviest of all the naturally occurring elements. Its most common isotope, uranium 238, has a nucleus containing 92 protons and 146 neutrons.

  • It was discovered by Martin Klaproth (Germany) in 1789, who named it after the planet Uranus, which had been discovered just eight years previously.
  • It has a density of 18.95 g/cm³ (0.04 oz/in³). In the Earth’s crust, it is roughly as abundant as tin and 40 times more abundant than silver.
  • It has a half-life of 4.47 billion years.


Most Unearthed: Kennecott’s Bingham Canyon Mine in Utah

This mine has unearthed about 18.7 million tonnes of copper – the most of any mine in history according to the company. The Escondida copper mine in Chile, jointly owned by BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, contains the world’s largest supply of copper (4.1 billion tonnes of ore reserves containing 31.5 million tonnes copper, and mineral resources of 4.6 billion tonnes). The next largest copper mine is Freeport McMoRan’s Grasberg copper-gold mine in Indonesia, which contains the world’s largest recoverable copper reserve and the largest gold reserve. Source

Largest Gold Nugget Ever Found: The Welcome Stranger Nugget – 2,316 Troy Ounces

The “Welcome Stranger” was the largest gold nugget ever found, weighing 2315.5 troy ounces when it was discovered in Moliagul, Australia in 1869. Since there were no scales capable of weighing the nugget, it was broken into 3 pieces. It was found by John Deason and Richard Oates at Moliagul, Victoria, Australia on February 5th, 1869. The nugget itself no longer exists as it has been smelted. It produced 2268 ozt, 10 dwt 14 grains of gold. Source

Largest gold nugget currently in existence: The Hand of Faith Nugget - 876 Troy Ounces

The Hand of Faith, is known to be the largest gold nugget currently in existence, as well as the largest gold nugget ever found with a metal detector. It was discovered in 1980 by Kevin Hillier near Wedderburn, Australia. It is about 6 inches long and weighs 876 Troy ounces (more than 61 pounds). It is now on display at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Source

World’s Largest Digging Machine

Largest earth mover in the world built by the German company, Krupp Earth Mover Specifications:

  • The mover stands 311 feet tall and 705 feet long.
  • It weighs over 45,500 tons
  • Cost $100 million to build
  • Took 5 years to design and manufacture and
    5 years to assemble.
  • Requires 5 people to operate it.
  • The Bucket Wheel is over 70 feet in diameter with 20 buckets, each of which can hold over 530 cubic feet of material.
  • A 6-foot man can stand up inside one of the buckets.
  • It moves on 12 crawlers (each is 12 feet wide, 80 high and 46 feet long).
  • There are 8 crawlers in front and 4 in back. It has a maximum speed of 1 mile in 3 hours (1/3 mile/hour).
  • It can remove over 76,455 cubic meters each day. (100,000 large dump trucks at 40 yds. each).

It is quite an amazing excavation machine. This is currently the largest earth mover in the world. In fact, this is the largest land moving object in the world. Source

Mining is Big Business

The World Bank estimates that today, some 15 to 20 million artisanal and small-scale miners are operating in 30 countries, with about 80 to 100 million people depending on such mining for their livelihood. In addition it estimates that the business of mining contributes somewhere in the region of USD 24.5 billion globally to our global economy. Source

Most abundant single
mineral: Quartz

Quartz is the most abundant single mineral on earth. It makes up about 12% of the earth’s crust, occurring in a wide variety of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. Source

Most Ductile: Gold

Gold is the most ductile (easily molded or shaped) of all metals, allowing it to be drawn out into tiny wires or threads without breaking. As a result, a single ounce of gold can be drawn into a wire five miles long. Gold’s malleability is also unparalleled. It can be shaped or extended into extraordinarily thin sheets. For example, one ounce of gold can be hammered into a 100 square foot sheet. Source

Richest Diamond Mine: Diamond mining in Botswana

The Jwaneng mine in Botswana is world’s richest diamond mine by value of recovered diamonds. The mine’s name means meaning “a place of small stones” and it produces 9.3 million tons of kimberlite ore per year at a ratio of 1.25 carats of diamond per ton.

The Argyle diamond mine in Australia covers a huge area of 45 ha and majority of diamonds is recovered by main pipe and lesser part from alluvial deposits in Smoke and Limestone Creeks.

Argyle diamond mine is especially famous for its intense pink diamonds and this mine recovers its diamonds from lamproite rock, and not from kimberlite rock (which is in many other countries usual source of diamonds).

Argyle diamonds are unique diamonds by world standards as they are harder than any other diamonds. Their atomic structure is different from of other diamonds where atoms are bonded together into very complex arrangements and about 70 % of these diamonds fluoresce blue under ultra-violet light which gives them amazing blue flashes. Source

Western Australian Resources Industry Delivers a Record $107 Billion in Sales in 2011

The value of Western Australia’s mineral and petroleum industry reached a record high of $107 billion in 2011 representing an increase of 16 per cent over the previous year. This is the second time resource sales have exceeded $100 billion and is significant considering the 12 per cent appreciation of the Australian dollar against the US dollar during 2011. Source

Coal and the World’s Energy

Coal provides 29.6% of global primary energy needs and generates 42% of the world’s electricity. Source

Coal Replaces Wood
and Changes History

Coal was used widely in England in the 1600′s because of wood shortages. Brewers had decided to try to dry their malts with coal generated heat but the fumes were absorbed by the brew, ruining the taste. The brewers found, however, that the undesirable gases could be eliminated if the coal was first heated in an air tight oven. Thus the discovery of the coke making process that has since been an essential part in the making of iron and steel. Source

Gold: One of Earth’s
Most Precious Metals

  • Less than 2% of the earth’s gold is found in nugget form, making it one of the earth’s most precious metals.
  • Gold never occurs in pure form in nature. It is mixed with silver, copper, and other metals. Refined gold is 99.9% pure (24K).
  • Meaning of the word Gold: The word ‘Gold’ is derived from the Old English word ‘gelo’ meaning yellow.
  • Gold’s many uses: The chemical symbol for gold is Au, from the Latin word “Aurum”, meaning “shining dawn”.
  • Gold is the most malleable and ductile of all metals, and can be hammered into a sheet thin enough so that light will pass through it. It is a great natural conductor of heat and electricity, as it is unaffected by air and most chemicals, and serves as a good barrier to radiation. It is used in jewelry, sculpture, currency, dentistry, computers, space helmets, satellites, and more.


Uranium Facts

Legends were told about their inexplicable influence upon a man, and sometimes they received the relevant names: Harmful stone, Wolf stone. However, despite this, some uranium compounds were used as dyeing agents and moreover even in medicine in the form of radon baths (radon is a gaseous product of radium decay — a grandson of uranium. Radium in its turn was applied at a very early stage in medicine and scientific research). Some compounds of radioactive elements were used for military applications as early as in the First World War. They were mainly used in instrument engineering to manufacture fluorescent paints for gauge dials. The main consumer of fluorescent paints was the Navy. Source


  • The rarest and heaviest of the precious metals: All of
    the platinum ever mined would fit in the average size
    living room.
  • Annually, only about 133 tons of Platinum is mined, compared to about 1,782 tons of Gold:
  • In contrast with gold and silver, there are no large above-ground platinum bullion stockpiles to protect against significant supply disruptions.
  • Platinum is the rarest and heaviest of the precious metals: All of the platinum ever mined would fit in the average size living room.
  • Ten tons of ore and a five month process is needed to generate one ounce of Platinum Bullion:
  • More than 90% of all platinum supplies come from South Africa and Russia. Virtually all of the platinum mined in South Africa is committed to industrial contracts.

Diamonds Secured by Platinum

The world’s famous diamonds, including the Hope, Jonker I and Koh-I-Noor, are secured by platinum.

Platinum in the War

When World War II began, the U.S. government declared platinum a strategic metal and its use in non-military applications, including jewelry, was disallowed.


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