If there’s one thing we all know about mining, you’ve got to go big or go home. We’ve put together this list of our picks for 5 mining operations that sure did go big, very very big. From the icy frozen slopes of the Udachnaya Diamond mine in Russia to the sun baked Big Hole in South Africa, read on and prepare to be amazed…
CHILE: Escondida Mine
Escondida is the world’s biggest copper producing mine with a whopping 928,000 tons a day being extracted. It’s got some big players behind it to, a joint venture between two of the world’s largest mining companies – Rio Tinto and BHP Biliton.
ATTRIBTION: The image was taken by the the Expedition 22 crew. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
RUSSIA: Mirny Mine
The Mirny Mine in Eastern Siberia is no longer active but it is the 4th deepest in the world and in one of the most unforgiving climates imaginable. It is the world’s second largest excavated hole. When it was running it was producing a whopping 10,000,000 carats of diamonds per year.
ATTRIUTION: By Staselnik (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
RUSSIA: Udachnaya Diamond Mine
The Udachnaya Pipe is a volcanic pipe located just outside of the Arctic Circle in Russia. “The Lucky Pipe” is the third deepest open pit mine on the planet and still has a lot of diamonds left to deliver before it’s tapped out.
ATTRIBUTION: By Хакимов Хабир (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
SOUTH AFRICA: The Big Hole (Kimberley Mine)
The Kimberley mine is claimed to be the biggest hole ever excavated by hand. Known as Groote Gat in Afrikaans it was originally owned by the De Beer brothers. Diamonds were discovered in 1871 and between then and 1914 50,000 workers excavated the entire 17 hectare wide hole with picks and shovels.
ATTRIBUTION: By Hein waschefort (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
AUSTRALIA: Kalgoorlie Super Pit
The Fimiston Open Pit, known as the Super Pit is Australia’s largest open cut gold mine. Located in Kalgoorlie in WA the pit is 3.5 kms long and 1.5 wide. It produces a huge 750,000 ounces of gold a year and has been in operation since 1989.
ATTRIBUTION: CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1465349