Yankee Girl Mine along Colorado's Million Dollar Highway © Sandy Horvath-Dori

Interesting Things About Mining That You Probably Haven’t Heard Before

Mining was an occupation of the past. You might have heard about your friends’ grandparents working in the coal mine back in the day; mining involves extracting rocks and minerals from the caves and the ground and processing them to be used as an energy source. It can be fascinating to wonder about the type of environment miners work in. Here are a few interesting things about mining that you probably have not heard of before.

Mining as an Extremely Dangerous Task

A complex set of abilities, tools, and equipment are required for mining, and mining also demands an extraordinary amount of manual labor. Most large-scale mining companies nowadays do not use artificial tunnels; instead, the procedure involves using powerful machines to drill deeply into the ground and extract minerals from it. 

However, this equipment is not error-free; most mining companies require industrial services like a gearbox at one point because it requires numerous parts that may break down along the process. Approximately 15,000 miners die while working every year, mainly due to fire, entrapment, and ongoing exposure to hazardous chemicals in mines.

You Can Mine Asteroids

Although it has not received much attention, it should not be shocking that people have already attempted to mine minerals and rocks from asteroids and other near-Earth space objects. While it does not have much public attention, asteroid mining can become quite popular in the years to come. However, this is primarily a research project rather than a for-profit enterprise. Analyzing objects from space is only natural, given that humans possess a desire to learn as much as they can about what occurs in our galaxy. 

The Oldest Mine Is In England

Mining is more of a traditional job than a modern activity.  Unknown to the majority of people, it has roots in prehistoric times. Ancient civilizations used to mine for the raw materials needed to make various life goods and obtain subsistence-level food. Norfolk, England, is home to the Grimes Graves, which are among the world’s oldest mines. While the oldest mine has lasted for several centuries, mines typically last for around 5 to 70 years.

The Indonesian Gold Mine Fiasco Is True

You may have already seen the movie Gold. What you might know is that the movie is based on real events that happened in India. The film accurately portrays a huge fraud that occurred through gold mining. There was a large gold mine in Indonesia, and according to rumors, it was named the world’s largest and richest gold mine. However, the rumors turned out to be just rumors, as the mine was barren and only had a few specks of gold nuggets in it. However, it took some time for the truth about the mine to get revealed to the public, and by then, the stocks of the mine had already been sold to investors at a whopping $200 per share.

Modern Technological Devices Use 35+ Minerals

Surprisingly, valuable metals and minerals extracted from the earth are utilized in technological products like the iPhone 6. The consumer technology website CNET states that neodymium is used in magnets that cause speakers to vibrate to produce sound. A phosphor called europium helps produce a vivid red color on phone screens, particularly iPhones. During the production process, workers polish devices using a solvent that contains cerium. Rare-earth minerals are also essential components for manufacturing wind turbines, hybrid automobiles, and night-vision goggles.

The Longest Underground Mining Accident Lasted for 69 Days

Chile experienced one of the worst mining disasters ever in 2010. When a portion of their mine collapsed, 33 workers got trapped for 69 days a half-mile underground. The $20 million rescue operation saved the miners within 24 hours, with the workers being hailed as national heroes. Accidents in the mines are not uncommon, with thousands of miners killed during such incidents yearly; a mining accident will trap workers in the mines and cause them to suffocate. Shifting the rocks and rubble around and getting the workers to safety usually takes 4-5 days or a week.

Mining is a dangerous job, with many brave workers risking their lives to extract minerals and rocks. It was popular and heroic to work in the mines in the 1800s; nowadays, machinery has replaced the miners, allowing them to settle for relatively safer occupations. Mining itself has a unique history surrounding it, with many interesting facts that are unheard of. We hope that this article has enlightened you about the general idea of mining rocks.