Nothing has advanced human existence more so than its curiosity. We have developed innovative mechanisms and ways of extracting earth’s valuable resources, and have gone to great lengths (sometimes fatal) to acquire them. In terms of dangerous occupations around the world, mining has always ranked near the top of the list as both open pit and underground operations placed workers at great risks.
With the threat of injury and death, however, comes the promise of great rewards. Since the inspirational gold rush in the mid-19th century, which set the stage for mining operations in the United States, contractors everywhere have worked hard to seize their piece of the mining pie, as well as provide billions of people with the fuel source for energy they need to go about their daily lives.
It is only fitting to talk about the greatest of endeavors, the largest mines which trump their counterparts in terms of both sheer physical size and payload. These operations require only the best equipment; it is not uncommon for some excavation equipment to weigh in at a million pounds (give or take). We are talking about some serious machinery.
Though this heavy machinery is quite impressive, one should not forget about the technology that is working behind the scenes to keep mining jobs productive and profitable. Mining software, whether it is construction cost estimating software, mine planning applications, or project cost management tools, is used every day to make mineral extraction the lucrative business it has been for centuries. Now let’s take a look at some of the mining industry’s largest mines.
Three of the World’s Largest Mines:
Hull Rust: Located in the heart of the U.S.’s Midwest, this mine is near the town of Hibbing, MN. The surface area that this mine covers alone is very impressive. Spanning five miles long by two miles wide, there is no doubting the awe-inspiring views that this open pit mine provides. With a maximum depth of over 500 feet, there have been nearly ¾ of a billion tons of iron extracted from Hull Rust since mining operations began in 1895.
An interesting fact about the mine is that its dimensions have grown tremendously over the last century. As miners discovered the area’s mineral-rich assets, the town of Hibbing actually had to be relocated to accommodate the expansion of the mining operations. Enough material has been extracted from Hull Rust to fill a tunnel through the planet.
Bingham Canyon Mine: Visiting the Bingham Canyon Mine is not for the faint of heart, or for those with a fear of heights. This mine has earned the title of being the deepest in the world. As if its nearly 3 mile stretch from side to side is not impressive enough, the mine is ¾ of a mile deep as well. Imagine having to drive a dump truck down those steep ridges.
The mineral of choice in Bingham Canyon is copper, though there have also been impressive quantities of gold and silver extracted as well. In fact, gold and silver have been mined to the tune of 620 and 5,000 tons respectively. Located close to Salt Lake City, UT, Bingham Canyon’s annual profit yield is approximately $2 billion.
Berkeley Pit: To demonstrate the danger of the profession, the Berkeley Pit mine close to Butte, MN has also earned a world-wide reputation, though not necessarily a great one. To date, it is the deadliest open pit mine on the planet. Not in terms of lives claimed, but due to the fact that it is virtually no longer minable. Berkeley Pit was once a highly profitable underground mine, but operations ceased in the mid 1950’s, at which point it was converted to an open pit.
Over the course of the next three decades, miners drained Berkeley Pit of copper ore, silver, and gold. Then Mother Nature took over when water pumps were shut off, allowing untold amounts of acidic run-off (due to chemical erosion) into what is now essentially a lake of poison. The area is now so dangerous that no animal or plant life even lives in close proximity to the pit, giving the pit its reputation.
This article was written by an Expert at HardDollar.com