1 3.2 Mining the World’s Minerals

Engage: Earthy Things You Surround Yourself With

Step 1: Go to the ArcGIS Online map, Mining the World’s Most Used Minerals, and explore the map.

Step 2: Click Modify Map, and then click the Contents button.

Step 3: Click the Bingham Canyon Mine bookmark to zoom to the most significant and deepest open-pit mine in the world.

Step 4: Measure the opening of the mine from the west rim to the east rim.

  • Q: How far is it across the opening?
  • Q: It is said that 9,000,000 people could fit into the Bingham Canyon Copper Mine. How many major league football stadiums would fit in this hole? [Using the 80,000-person capacity of the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, approximately 115 stadiums would fit in the hole.

Step 5: Switch the basemap to Imagery

Explore: Raw materials we need in our lives

Step 6: Each mine is the largest of its kind in the world. Click the bookmarks for each mine, and then click each pushpin to view additional information.

  • Q: What does each mine produce?
  • Q: Based on the information you learned from the Bingham Canyon Mine, what is the total amount of mineral resources an average person uses?

Explain: Why more minerals gather in certain places

Step 7: Change the basemap back to Topographic.

Step 8: Click the Home button to see the full extent of the map.

Step 9: Turn on the Copper Mine Density layer and the Sources of Minerals layer.

Step 10: Click the large box containing the word Copper to see how copper ore is formed.

  • Q: What are the top three areas that produce this metal for the world?

Step 11: Explore the other three metals (iron, aluminum, and gold) in the same way.

Elaborate: At this rate, how long can we use resources?

Step 12: Click the pin next to Lake Huron.

Step 13: Click the image of the popup, and explore the image and graph further.

  • Q: Which resource will we run out of soonest if we keep consuming it at today’s rate?
  • Q: What product will we need to redesign after we run out of its associated mineral?

Elaborate: At this rate, how long can we use resources?

  • Q: If the recycling rate of chromium is doubled, what is the fraction of new material needed to make products that use chromium?


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