Mining and Society

Continuing the American standard of living requires the mining of 7.1 billion tons of rocks and minerals annually to make the things we use and depend on every day (Minerals Education Coalition data). That’s 3.7 million pounds for every person in the USA and with 300 million people in the USA who expect to live comfortably and affordably, mining has to occur somewhere. These numbers show the dependence of Americans on minerals and the mining industry.

In our 125 million homes, we expect heating, cooling and lighting on a dependable basis. Each year this number grows by 2 million new housing units, each needing a quarter million pounds of mineral and metals for its construction.

The necessity, even luxury, to travel to our jobs, schools, and for other reasons, means each of us uses a share of the 4 million miles of paved roads that need to be built and maintained. This does not include the 237 million vehicles that travel those roads, and contribute to an average use of 3 gallons of oil consumption per day per person.

We all use minerals every day and they must come from somewhere. Everything we use is made from something and that something must come from our natural resources, most of it from mining (MEC data). If it is not grown, it has to be mined. To learn more about individual minerals and their uses, and what minerals are in common every day objects (light bulb, computer, car, pencil, concrete, and many others) visit the Minerals Education Coalition (MEC). To learn about the mining industry and its effects on the economy of the USA, visit


Mineral Info Institute

American Geological Institute

USGS Mineral Production Map

Arkansas Non-Fuels Annual Resource Reports