The metallurgical and mining industry is one of the most critical industries active in the world today. Almost every other industry is dependent upon the supply of goods that are produced from underground mines. The high-tech industries are especially dependent upon the rare-earth items that can be extracted from the ground.
Energy is another important segment of the metallurgical and mining industry. The top 40 companies in the world, which represent almost the entirety of the industry, reported over $496 billion in revenues for FY 2016.
Although that seems like quite a lot, the net profit margin for the industry has dropped dramatically in recent years. In 2010, the industry achieved a net profit margin of 25%. In 2016, the net profit margin was just 4%.
Certain nations specialize in metallurgical and mining products. Iron and coal mining are dominated by China. Australia is a global leader in gold production. The United States is also still a leader in coal production.
Interesting Metallurgical and Mining Industry Statistics
#1. The total revenue of the top mining companies in the world today is more than $600 billion. That is on total assets that are worth $1.12 trillion. (Statista)
#2. China is the leading producer of hard coal within the mining industry. In 2016, their local industry produced over 3.1 billion metric tons of coal. (Statista)
#3. The total operating expenses of the top mining companies around the world totaled $454 billion in 2016. (Statista)
#4. A diamond mine currently has a maximum extraction duration for the metallurgical and mining industry of 27 years. (Statista)
#5. Chile is the leading producer of copper for the global mining industry, producing over 5.3 million metric tons in 2016. (Statista)
#6. Only 1 U.S.-based mining company is ranked within the world’s top 40 companies: Newmont Mining. (Statista)
#7. In 2016, almost 500 deals, worth about $44 billion, were completed in mergers and acquisitions within the metallurgical and mining industry. That is almost 60% less than the number of deals reported in 2010, but still higher than the 392 deals that happened in 2000. (Statista)
#8. In 2016, there were over 13,000 active mining operations in the United States which reported employment for the industry. Sand and gravel mines were the most common, accounting for almost half of all U.S.-based mining activities. Stone mines accounted for almost 25% of all mining in the U.S. too. (Centers for Disease Control and Protection [CDC])
#9. There were just 306 metal mines that were operating in the United States in 2016. The number of coal mines (1,289) is slightly more than the total of metal and non-metal mines combined (1,212). (CDC)
#10. The number of active mines in the United States has been going down since 2006 for almost every segment. The only exceptions are for metal and non-metal mines, which have experienced total combined gains of about 300 mines during that time period. (CDC)
#11. There are currently 657 underground mining operations active in the United States. The vast majority of these mines are located in the Appalachian Mountains. (CDC)
#12. In 2015, there were more than 237,000 mine operator employees reported to the government by the U.S. metallurgical and mining industry. (CDC)
#13. Although sand and gravel mining is the most common activity performed by the industry in the United States, it only accounts for 14.6% of the available employment opportunities that are reported. Coal (28.8%), stone (28.2%), and metal (17.4%) all offer more direct employment opportunities. (CDC)
#14. In 2015, there were 26 total fatalities reported by the metallurgical and mining industry in the United States. 11 were reported in coal mining, with 6 reported in sand and gravel. (CDC)
#15. Of the more than 1,200 active metal and non-metal mines in the United States, only 136 of them were underground. (CDC)
#16. During the average year, each America will consume about 3.4 tons of coal and 40,000 pounds of materials that are newly mined. The reason why the coal numbers are so high is because 60% of electricity in the U.S. comes from either coal or uranium consumption. (National Mining Association)
#17. The average coal miner in the United States is 44 years old, with only 3% of the reported workforce holding a Bachelor’s degree or above. The average coal miner has also been on the job for 16 years. (National Mining Association)
#18. New coal miners only go through 24 hours of safety training as part of their new employee orientations. Annual refresher courses involve just 8 hours of safety training. (National Mining Association)
#19. The average annual salary for a coal miner in the United States is $84,000 per year, or $33 per hour. Most coal miners put in at least 45 hours of work per week. (National Mining Association)
#20. Nevada is the industry leader for nonfuel mineral production, accounting for over 11.5% of the total minerals produced. Stone, sand and gravel, silver, copper, and gold are the primary products mined in the state. Arizona comes in second at 8.8%, while Texas is third, at 6.94%. (U.S. Geological Survey)
#21. Codelco has been the world’s leading copper producer since 2012, producing 1.82 million metric tons in 2016. Only 4 providers globally produce over 1 million metric tons of copper each year. (CRU International)
Metallurgical and Mining Industry Trends and Analysis
We are all highly dependent upon the various metallurgical and mining industries throughout the world. Each region focuses on a specialty based on the availability of natural resources, but with a growing import/export market, every region is able to provide resources to every other region.
Although we still consume high levels of fossil fuels, there is a trend globally to move away from coal in the coming years. Many countries, including the U.S. and Canada, are committed to coal reductions by the year 2030. Although these commitments are subject to change, the world is slowly coming to the realization that the Industrial Revolution may have changed our atmosphere in ways that may leave lasting consequences.
Even with this push away from fossil fuels, there is still a need for coal and similar products. We use fossil fuels to create our renewable sources of energy too. Although consumption levels may decrease over the next decade, they will certainly not be fading into obscurity.
At the same time, rare-earth elements will continue to be in high demand as computing devices explode in popularity. The opportunities lost in coal, stone, and sand may eventually make their way over to one of the newest segments of the industry.