Here is my list of the Top 15 largest and biggest mines in the world: They are economically big and physically large, taking a lot of time and power to excavate using special mining equipment. But in their core, there’s what big mining companies are looking for: the precious ore. Join us as we explore the world of the largest man-made canyons yet.
1. Bingham Canyon mine
After suffering a major landslide, this open-pit copper mine located in the United States has recovered thanks to the help of innovative technology like ball mills. Owned by Rio Tinto Group, the Kennecott copper mine, as the deposit is also known, is located southwest of Salt Lake City, in Utah, and covers 1,900 acres.
2. Mirny mine
Located in Siberia, Russia, the Mirny mine is a former open-pit diamond deposit, now inactive. The mine is 1,722 ft deep and has a diameter of 3,900 ft, being the second largest excavated hole in the world. The airspace above the mine had to be closed because helicopters were sucked in by the airflow.
3. Grasberg mine
This is the largest gold mine and the third largest copper mine on the planet. Grasber mine is located in the province of Papua, in Indonesia, near Puncak Jaya, the highest mountain in the area. The pit ore had 19,500 employees, not all operation, obviously.
4. Chuquicamata mine
Chuquicamata, locally known as “Chuqui”, is the biggest open-pit copper mine in the world by excavated volume. The pit is located in the north of Chile. The mine is owned and operated by Codelco, the Chilean state enterprise.
5. Oyu Tolgoi mine
This combined open pit and underground mining project is located in Khanbogd (Mongolia), within the Gobi Desert. The site was discovered in 2001 and joins institutions like Turquoise Hill Resources, Rio Tinto and the Government of Mongolia. The mine began producing copper this year. Oyu Tolgoi is the largest financial mining project in Mongolia’s history.
6. Barrick Goldstrike mine
The Goldstrike mine is an active gold mine located in Northeastern Nevada. It has 1,379 employees and is managed by the giant of the mining industry Barrick Goldstrike Mines. This deposit is divided into three different mines: the large open-pit mine Betze-Post and the two underground mines Meikle and Rodeo. The mine uses some very large gold mining equipment that small miners can’t operate.
7. Yanacocha mine
Located in Northern Pery, the Yanacocha mine is considered the second largest gold mine in the world. The open-pit has 251-square kilometers. The mine is run by the Newmont Mining Corporation, the world’s second-largest gold mining company. Newmont is the major shareholder together with Buenaventura, a Peruvian company.
8. Cannington mine
This underground mine located in northwest Queensland, Australia, was discovered by Broken Hill Proprietary Company (BHP) in 1990. The Cannington mine produces silver and lead.
9. Kiruna mine
The Kiruna mine, located in Lapland, is the largest and most modern underground iron ore mine in the world, managed by the Swedish mining company Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara AB. The Kiruna mine, with its underground jaw crusher, has an ore body 2.5 miles long, 260 ft to 390 ft thick and reaching a depth of up to 1.2 miles.
10. Carajás mine
The Carajás mine is the largest iron ore mine on the planet. The open-pit mine is located in the state of Para, in the Carajás Mountains, in the region of Northern Brazil. Besides iron, the mine also produces gold, manganese, copper and nickel. The mine is owned by the Companhia Vale do Rio Doce and is largely powered by hydroelectric power from the Tucurua Dam.
Orapa means “the resting place of lions” and is the name of the world’s largest diamond mine, located in Botswana, about 150 miles west of the city of Francistown. The pit is owned by Debswana, a partnership between the De Beers company and the local government.
12. Kalgoorlie mine
Also known as Kalgoorlie-Boulder gold mine, the pit is located in the Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia. The town around the mine was founded in 1893 during the Yilgarn-Goldfields gold rush. The Kalgoorlie mine is also called “the super pit”.
13. Diavik mine
The Diavik mine has been producing diamonds for 10 years. Located in the Northwest Territories of Canada, it has become an important part of the regional economy. The open-pit mine is owned by the Dominion Diamond Corporation and Diavik Diamond Mines Inc., a subsidiary of Rio Tinto Group.
14. Escondida mine
Escondida is a copper mine located in the Atacama Desert, in Chile. The Escondida deposit is part of a cluster of porphyry coppers spread through a huge area that is hundred of miles long.
15. Udachnanya Mine
The Udachnaya mine – the name means “lucky pipe” – is one of the largest diamond mines in Russia and in the world. The mine is located in the Sakha Republic and has estimated reserves of 225.8 million carats of diamonds, with an annual production capacity of 10.4 million carats.
16. Highland Valley Copper Mine
With 2 in-pit rock crushers, Highland Valley Copper mine is one of the world’s largest open-pit deposits, owned by Teck Resources. The deposit, located in south-central British Columbia (Canada), is rich in copper and molybdenum mineral concentrates, also including trace amounts of silver and gold.