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On National Miners Day, A Look at The Mining Industry’s Contributions to Sustainably Greening our Future

“December 6 is National Miners Day… a fitting time to reflect on how much miners provide to allow for our modern way of life. (…)”  

You might not recognize how mining plays a role in your daily life. Most people do not see the raw materials produced by mining, from metals and minerals to coal and stone, sand, and gravel. Instead, we use items every day that come from mined raw materials, never knowing that mining played an integral part in the development of the mobile devices we use, the roads we travel on, the cookware we use to make our meals, and the mined fertilizers that helped grow our food. These products, in addition to countless other necessities and conveniences, start with mining.”

This is not an excerpt from a puff piece written by a trade association – it’s a snippet from the CDC website today, and many other U.S. government agencies, as well as Members of Congress have put out similar statements acknowledging the mining industry’s contributions to our modern way of life.

Since 2009, when National Miners Day was first proclaimed by Congress to be observed every December 6, awareness of the importance of metals and minerals, and securing their supply chains, has steadily grown.

Fueled by a global pandemic severing supply chains and compounded by mounting environmental and geopolitical pressures, and the realization that our green energy future will be mineral intensive, critical mineral supply chain security today is more than a buzz word, and stakeholders understand the need to — responsibly and sustainably — mine and process the metals and minerals that underpin the global push towards net zero carbon emissions and 21stCentury technology in the broader sense.

Thankfully, the mining industry is ready to meet the challenge and is not only upping the ante on the ESG front in general, but is specifically leveraging the materials science revolution to sustainably develop and process the metals and minerals we need today and in the future.

In recent years, ARPN has been showcasing initiatives by mining companies to sustainably green the future, ranging from overhauling supply chain policies to ensure suppliers conform to certain environmental and social standards to incorporating renewable power sources into their operations to offset some of the carbon costs for resource development.

Perhaps most recently, in November of 2022, mining equipment manufacturer Caterpillar announced a successful demonstration of its first battery electric large mining truck, going hand in hand with a “significant investment to transform its Arizona-based proving ground into a sustainable testing and validation hub of the future.”

Many more initiatives are underway (several are featured here and here), and we will continue to feature them going forward.