Where Are the World's Biggest Metal Deposits and Mines?
There are more examples of huge metal deposits and vast mines on the planet than you might imagine. A look around the globe shows us some incredible places where most of our metal originates.
The Biggest Gold Mine – Indonesia
Nevada in the USA in one of the places where most of this precious metal is extracted, while Uzbekistan and Russia are other countries with huge gold mining operations. However, to find the world´s biggest gold mine we need to travel to Indonesia.
The remote Grasberg mine is located near the highest mountain on Papua. As well as all of the shiny gold that has been extracted from here over the years, it is also home to the second-largest copper mine on Earth. There is an open mine plus underground working carried out here.
For a long time, South Africa was the leader in gold mining, but China now extracts more of the precious metal than any other country. They mined over 380 tonnes in 2019, followed by Russia with close to 330 tonnes.
The Largest Iron Ore Mine - Brazil
Iron ore is mined all over the world, and is widely used for many products including CE marked fabrications and other types of steel. The largest mining operation in regards to this metal is found in the north of Brazil.
The Carajás Mine in the state of Pará is an open-pit mine that uses hydroelectric power and that is believed to have the planet´s biggest iron ore deposits, as well as gold, copper, nickel and other precious metals. The area where it is located is thought to contain 18 billion tons of iron ore.
Meanwhile, the Kiruna mine in Swedish Lapland is rated as the biggest underground iron ore mine, as well as being arguably the most modern of its type. More than 950 million tonnes of ore have been extracted from here in well over a century of mining operations.
The Biggest Silver Deposits - Mexico
We need to head to Mexico for the biggest silver deposits, which are found at the likes of the Penasquito and Saucito mines in the state of Zacatecas. Unlike with some other metals, the leading mine positions change hands fairly frequently when it comes to silver.
Without doubt, Mexico is still the biggest producer. Some 6,300 metric tons of silver came out of here in 2019. However, a mine in Poland was the overall top producer of this versatile metal in 2019.
The Main Copper Producer – Chile
Six of the planet´s top ten copper mines are in Chile. Among them, the true giant is the Escondida copper mine. It is located in the Atacama Desert in the north of the country, which is one of the world´s driest places.
Miners have been extracting copper from here since the end of the 20th century, with about half a century worth of reserves still to be taken out. It is also one of the top ten deepest open pit mines on Earth.