China is not only a big user and exporter of minerals – it is also the world’s biggest miner as far as countries go.
In 2018, the latest year available with the World Mining Congresses, China excavated almost 4.1 billion metric tons of fossil fuels and iron as well as non-ferrous and other metals. The biggest single contributor to this statistic was coal – listed as a mineral fuel -, of which almost 3.5 billion tons were excavated. The second most excavated mineral in China was iron, of which the country extracted more than 200 million tons.
Similar to China, many countries in the top 10 of the world’s biggest miners relied almost exclusively on mineral fuels. Saudi Arabia’s and Indonesia’s share of mineral fuels of all mining output were 98 percent and 99 percent, respectively. Other players, like Australia and Brazil, extract between 47 and 62 percent iron (including ferro-alloys). The United States was also heavily, but not exclusively, relying on mineral fuels for its mining industry. Their share stood at 94 percent in 2018 – with petroleum and coal taking up approximately equal parts.