Mining - Statistics & Facts

Mining - Statistics & Facts

Statistics and facts about mining

Numerous industries worldwide depend on the supply of commodities from underground such as minerals and metals. The dependency of various high-tech-industries on rare earths is a recent issue – coal, on the other hand, is still one of the leading global energy resources. Consequently, the mining sector is pivotal to the world’s economy. The global top 40 companies, which represent a vast majority of the whole industry, reported some 402 billion U.S. dollars of revenue in 2015. The net profit margin of this industry decreased from 25 percent in 2010 to four percent in 2013, before decreasing even further to negative 26 percent in 2015.

In terms of volume, the most exploited commodities worldwide are coal, iron ore, bauxite, and potash. China and the United States are the top coal producing countries. Iron ore mining is also dominated by China, with Australia in second place. Thus, China is becoming the top mining country for many commodities, especially for the highly demanded rare earths, of which China produced over 90 percent of the global production in 2015. Additionally, China is the world’s leading country in the mine production of gold.

The industry’s top companies based on market value are Anglo-Australian BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, followed by China Shenhua Energy. As of June 2015, BHP Billiton had a market value of 122 billion U.S. dollars. Measured by revenue, the top company active in mining worldwide is Anglo-Swiss Glencore, generating some 170 billion U.S. dollars in 2015. However, it has to be taken into consideration that a large share of Glencore’s revenues come from commodity trading. Interestingly, Newmont Mining is the only U.S. mining company among the global leaders.

The mining and metals sector has been very vibrant in terms of mergers and acquisitions over the last few years. In 2010, a record high of 1,123 deals worldwide was reported, a number which stood at only 392 about ten years earlier. In 2015, some 358 deals worth around 40 billion U.S. dollars were done. In terms of value, the major commodities targeted by these transactions as of 2013 were gold, coal, and copper.

In the United States, mining has always played an important role. Its relevance increases all the more whenever mining includes the extraction of oil and gas, and support activities for mining, as some sources do. The total U.S. mining gross output in 2014 amounted to 667 billion U.S. dollars, a notable increase from the gross output of 380 billion U.S. dollars in 2009. In the same year, the whole sector employed around 748 thousand people.

Photo: Wikimedia / Dr. Günther Pinzke

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