The Metals Mining Industry
The United States is an important producer of key minerals used to make metals. It is the world’s second largest miner of gold and copper and a significant producer of iron ore, zinc, lead, molybdenum and silver. The United States has ready markets for these minerals in relatively close proximity to its huge manufacturing and construction sectors.
The U.S. metals mining industry is made up of about 200 companies with combined 2009 annual revenues of over $20 billion. The industry supported approximately 36,000 employees and generated nearly $3 billion in exports in 2009. The largest subsectors in the industry by value of 2009 mine output were gold ($6.4 billion), copper ($6.2 billion), iron ore ($2 billion), zinc ($1.2 billion) and lead ($670 million).
The demand for metals is derived from their use in the manufacture of other products and generally follows output trends in those industries. Among the largest metal consumers are the construction, motor vehicles and manufacturing industries. Growth in green technologies and related products are expected to boost demand in the coming years for copper, lead and rare earth metals.
The U.S. mining industry has access to well-developed and reliable transportation and power infrastructure as well as the latest mining technology, products and services.