Metal can be found almost everywhere. We see copper wiring in building construction, electrical products, machinery, and telecommunications. The nickels we have in our pockets may not be able to buy much, but nickel is a valuable commodity used in transportation, defense, electrical equipment, manufacturing, and even the chemical and petroleum industries. Steel is the main structure in buildings and bridges. Batteries for our electronics, mobile phones, and electric cars contain metals. And an estimated one-fifth to one fourth of everything we use either contains or is manufactured with platinum.
We see these metals everyday, but we probably forget that they all had to be mined before they reached us. According to the USGS, at today’s level of consumption, the average newborn infant will need a lifetime supply of 800 pounds of lead, 750 pounds of zinc, 1,500 pounds of copper, 3,593 pounds of aluminum, and 32,700 pounds of iron, not to mention the many other metals like rare earth elements and the platinum metal group.
Take a look at the Mineral Matters article on Advancing Mining, which talks about how metals and minerals permeate every aspect of our lives, from virtually all of the consumer products we use to the industries that manufacture these products, to the construction, transportation, and distribution infrastructures that keep it all running. You’ll find out that minerals do matter, especially to the metals industry.