Mining, Metals & Minerals
Statistics and facts on mining, metals and minerals
Mining is one of the oldest industries on Earth. It mainly includes the exploration, production and processing of natural resources which are located in the Earth’s crust. Metals and minerals are essential for many other industries. For example, iron ore for making steel is essential in the construction and machinery industry. Another prominent mined commodity is coal, still one of the largest energy resources worldwide, as is uranium, the basic raw material for the generation of nuclear energy.
The most valued metals are the so called precious metals. These include, first of all, gold, silver, and the platinum group. Gold and silver have always been signs of wealth, and still are important drivers in the financial world. Historic price developments of precious metals are among the top statistics of this branch. Less valued, but highly sought after, are the so called base metals. Iron, lead, nickel, zinc and copper are the best known base metals and are utilized in everyday life.
Over the last few years, rare earths became a top issue in the world of mining. The group contains 17 elements, which are extremely sought after, especially by high-tech industries. Rare earth elements are mostly used for the production of magnets, catalyzers, displays, etc. For example, the wind power industry is highly dependent on these materials, as some rare forms are needed for the production of permanent magnets installed in wind turbines.