ExecutiveChronicles.com | Fascinating Facts – 6 Things Most People Don’t Know About The Modern Mining Industry | Though it’s a sometimes-maligned industry, you will find that almost everything you do in the modern world is powered, in one way or another, by mining. With this in mind, it’s time to illuminate your underground lighting tower and join us as we delve into the fascinating underbelly of mining.
1. Ghost towns abound
Many mining towns are built in the middle of nowhere when a new mineral deposit is discovered. Though some eventually grow to be much more, others don’t. In many cases, once the mine ceases to be profitable, they’re abandoned.
Bodie California, and Old Iron Town, Utah offer buildings that date back to the 1800s. One of the youngest ghost towns, Centralia, Pennsylvania, was only abandoned in 1962. However, if you’re looking for true creepy vibes, Bannack, Montana has a chilling backstory. When the mine’s gold supply dwindled, the townsfolk packed up, but most of them never made it out alive. They were robbed and beaten to death by a gang run by the man who’d once protected them as Sheriff.
2. You’re staring at mined minerals as we speak
If you’re gazing into an LCD screen right now, you can thank indium, a byproduct of zinc, for allowing you to read these words. Indium can also be found in solar panels, and it’s not the only mineral lurking in your electronics.
More than 35 minerals are used in the creation of most devices we use today. Of all the known elements, silver is the most conductive. So, you’ll find it in virtually any tech device (not that we recommend opening them up to see).
3. Our resources are finite… but possibly not
To be clear, our Earthly resources are most definitely finite. In fact, recent estimates suggest we may already be running low on coal, oil, and many minerals. Since nearly all of the items we rely on each day are supplied and powered by the mining industry, it’s imperative that we find viable alternatives while we still can.
Renewable energy sources are one of many ways scientists and engineers are looking to address this issue. One of the most fascinating avenues of exploration is asteroid mining. Companies like Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries (DSI) are already raising capital. China has recently gotten into this new space race, and with fierce competition comes rapid development. So, asteroid mining may take off sooner than scientists originally anticipated.
4. The scale of a coal mine is almost impossible to imagine
Let’s try to put it into perspective. All of the world’s largest machines work in coal mines. The Cat 797 Powertrain Haul Truck can carry 400 tons and makes the car you drive look like a toy. Even this big boy looks tiny in comparison to the biggest machine on Earth. This Guinness World Record-winning monster is an unimaginably enormous bucket-wheel excavator that goes by the name of Bagger and weighs 14 million kilograms. To give you some sense of scale, that’s the weight of 2,333 African Elephants, or 60 Statue of Liberties!
5. Remote control mining is making the work safer
One of the most bizarre examples of this can be found in Africa, where some of the most advanced remote control machines are in operation. In the same facilities, you will struggle to find a spare outlet in the break rooms because the local workers have no electricity at home. They bring power banks to work and charge them up so they can use modern devices.
Though it’s an industry many people love to hate, there’s no denying the fact that life as we know it would crumble without mining.