Whether people realize it or not, every day they come in contact with something that was produced because of a mine.
According to the National Mining Association, “every American uses an average of 40,000 pounds of newly mined materials every year, including three tons of coal.” I write about the industry regularly and that fact still surprised me.
I knew the average annual salary for a miner is $80,000 or more, which is well above the national average wage of $52,874, but people who don’t know the industry may be shocked by that information.
I thought I should share some of the mining facts I learned while attending the 2016 MINExpo, so people in the industry are a little better informed when talking to those who know nothing about mining. When people wonder why we still have a mining industry, it is good to have facts to back up why mineral resources are still needed.
Computers wouldn’t exist without mined materials. The number of minerals used in the average computer is 66 and an electric car contains 165 pounds of copper – three times as much as a gasoline-powered car. Solar energy is projected to use 70 million ounces of silver in 2016, and 29 minerals are needed to deliver electricity to homes and businesses.
While many in northern Nevada know that we mine gold in the Silver State, they may not realize that the yellow metal is just one of several minerals produced in Nevada. The other “major mined” products are copper, silver, lime, diatomite, sand and gravel, stone, and gypsum, according to the National Mining Association.
Many politicians talk about mining being essential to national security. This is at least one time when they aren’t exaggerating. The U.S. Department of Defense uses 750,000 tons of minerals each year in technologies that protect our troops. Lithium-ion batteries can lighten a soldier’s pack by almost 7 pounds and provide them three times the charge. The U.S. remains 50 percent or more import-reliant on 43 key mineral resources.
These are just some of the reasons mines are needed in Nevada and the rest of the country. However, that doesn’t mean mining companies don’t help our communities in other ways.
Barrick Gold Corp. and Newmont Mining Corp. have opened their wallets quite a bit lately. While both companies give to many different causes, I focused on two different programs. Barrick helped establish a new student veteran program at Great Basin College, and Newmont hit a new record with its employee driven Legacy Fund.
Most Mining Quarterlies focus on Nevada mines, but this time around, MQ correspondent Adella Harding got to travel to Colorado to visit Newmont’s Cripple Creek and Victor Mine.
This edition also has a story on EP Minerals which mines diatomaceous earth and makes some pretty interesting products.
The Elko Daily Free Press also began sending out mining newsletters every Monday. If you haven’t already signed up, go to the email alerts at elkodaily.com to receive a weekly email on the latest mining news.
While the industry is constantly going through changes, this magazine also will have something new for our spring edition.
You can find the details on all these stories and more in this edition of the Mining Quarterly.
See the article here.
- On December 7, 2016