The United States has twice as many operating mines owned by publicly-traded companies than any other country, according to data from Mining Intelligence.
As of this month there are 845 operating mines in the U.S., giving it 20% of the world's total.
Russia is second with 408. Canada ranked eighth with just 167 operating mines.
Mines considered in the survey had the following criteria:
- Mines are owned by publicly-traded companies and some state-owned mines. Excluded are private mines. Stock exchanges used are TSX, TSX-V, ASX, LSE, LSE-AIM, NYSE and JSE.
- Aggregate and industrial mines are exluded. Just base metal, precious metal or coal operations are surveyed.
- Mines are in production.
- Mine is either an open pit or underground operation. Excluded are operations that are in-situ, placer or tailings, as well as mines with joint open pit and underground operations.
About half the American mines are open pit with the other half being underground.
Ukraine, Poland and China have the highest percentage of operating underground mines. Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam have the most open pit mines.
Despite America having so many mines, the industry often gets overlooked in the US, says Jennifer Leinart, Mining Intelligence analyst and vice president of CostMine.
"While the regulatory environment makes it tough on miners, the United States continues to lead. The industry supports over 188,000 direct jobs according to Bureau of Labor Statistics, and there are another 10 supporting jobs for each direct mining job," says Leinart.
Mining still only amounts to 1.2% of total US employment, notes Leinart.
"Mining is not noticed in the United States because America has such a big, diversified economy. Mining has much more...