12 Interesting Mining Facts and Trivia Knowledge
Mining is one of the largest industries worldwide. It’s also one of the oldest. Mining has been a cornerstone of society for millennia. Almost every product used in everyday life contains some metal or other material that has been mined. There are thousands of mines operating all over the globe today.
Want to learn more? Here are some interesting mining facts and trivia knowledge:
1. First Metals
Gold and copper are the classic metals of antiquity. They were the first discovered by humanity. Their discovery is believed to date back to 5,000 BC. Gold quickly became the economic basis for trade in nearly every economy since. Copper is a constituent material for bronze, the first metal widely used in the production of weapons and armor, along with metal ornaments.
2. Lifetime Supply
People go through so many mined products over their lifetime. For an entire lifetime a person will go through 3,000 pounds of aluminium, 33,000 pounds of iron, 27,000 pounds of clay, 28,000 pounds of salt, 1,5000 pounds of copper, and over one million pounds of sand, gravel, stone, and cement. This is truly a staggering amount of mined material.
California’s early history is strongly associated with its famous gold rush. This gold rush sparked massive influx to the area. This is probably the most significant factor in California becoming a state in 1850. The massive rise in population enabled it to be considered significant enough to be admitted into the United States of America.
4. Largest Coal Hauler
Massive dump trucks, known as haulers, are used in the mining industry to move the massive amounts of ore. The largest coal hauler in use today can haul 447 tons of coal in a single load. That’s slightly over 4 full railway cars, more than enough to fill the average home completely. The truck holds the official Guinness world record as the largest worldwide.
5. Heaviest Element
There a number of super heavy elements that are only produced in labs. The heaviest naturally occurring element is uranium. This metal is mined in many places around the world and is best known as the fuel for nuclear power plants. It has a density of 19 grams per cubic centimeter, roughly the same as gold. It is present in the same quantity as tin but is often more difficult to mine.
6. Most Production
The mine that has had the largest output of any single mine in the world is Kennecott’s Bingham Canyon Mine. This copper mine has put out 18.7 million tonnes of copper over its lifetime. While there are some mines out there that have the potential capacity to someday surpass this mine, they have yet to take advantage of this capacity.
7. Largest Gold Nugget
The largest gold nugget ever discovered had a weight of 2,316 troy ounces. Troy ounces are used to measure gold weight, there are roughly fourteen and a half troy ounces to a pound. This means that the nugget was 159 pounds! The massive nugget is called the “Welcome Stranger” and was discovered in Australia, in 1869. Its finders were John Deason and Richard Oates.
8. Largest Pit Mine
The largest open pit mine, meaning the mine is essentially a wide and deep hole rather than a shaft into the ground, is the Kalgoorlie Super Pit in western Australia. This gold mine is 3.5 kilometers long and 1.5 kilometers wide. The mine is 360 meters deep. This is a mine of staggering size. The sheer volume of the earth removed is something to consider.
9. Largest Digging Machine
The largest digging machine of any type ever made is the Earth Mover produced by the German company, Krupp. This masterpiece of engineering stands over 300 feet tall and is over 700 feet long. The machine weighs over 45 thousand tonnes. It took 5 years to construct this monolith of a machine. It takes 5 people working simultaneously to operate the machine.
10. Big Business
Mining is one of the biggest employers in the world. Today it’s estimated that between 80 to 100 million people are employed by the mining industry in various capacities. The mining industry contributes over 24 billion dollars to the global economy every year. Mining continues to expand and will likely continue into the future.
11. Coal Energy
While there have been significant reforms in many nations, coal continues to be a major source of energy worldwide. Coal provides nearly 30 percent of the direct energy used worldwide, meaning heating and steam engines. Coal is also used to produced 42 percent of the world’s electricity.
12. Greatest Mining Labourer
There are two main contenders for the title of the greatest mining industry workers in history. Alexei Stakhanov was a Ukrainian miner who was said to have mined 102 tons of coal over a six-hour period in 1935. The other contender is Henry Noll who allegedly loaded 45 tons of pig iron onto the railway tracks each and every day for the winter of 1899.