How much silver has been found in the world?

Of the 1,740,000 metric tons of silver discovered to date, 55% is found in just four countries on earth. All the silver discovered thus far would fit in a cube 55 meters on a side.

Learn more at the USGS commodity website for silver.

 

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Where can I find information about mineral commodities?

For statistical information about mineral commodities, visit the USGS Commodity Statistics and Information website. For locations outside the United States, the USGS International Minerals Statistics and Information website is the best starting point.

What is the difference between a rock and a mineral?

A mineral is a naturally occurring inorganic element or compound having an orderly internal structure and characteristic chemical composition, crystal form, and physical properties. Common minerals include quartz, feldspar, mica, amphibole, olivine, and calcite. A rock is an aggregate of one or more minerals, or a body of undifferentiated mineral...

What is sterling silver?

Sterling silver is the standard of quality for articles containing 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper (and/or other alloys).

How much gold has been found in the world?

About 244,000 metric tons of gold has been discovered to date (187,000 metric tons historically produced plus current underground reserves of 57,000 metric tons). Most of that gold has come from just three countries: China, Australia, and South Africa. The United States ranked fourth in gold production in 2016. All of the gold discovered thus far...

How much copper has been found in the world?

To date, roughly 700 million metric tons of copper have been produced around the world. This would fit into a cube measuring about 430 meters on a side. Identified deposits contain an estimated 2.1 billion metric tons of additional copper, which brings the total amount of discovered copper to 2.8 billion metric tons. This would fit into a cube...

How large is a lifetime supply of minerals for the average person?

At today's level of consumption, the average newborn infant will need a lifetime supply of 800 pounds of lead, 750 pounds of zinc, 1,500 pounds of copper, 3,593 pounds of aluminum, 32,700 pounds of iron, 26,550 pounds of clays, 28,213 pounds of salt, and 1,238,101 pounds of stone, sand, gravel, and cement.

How many pounds of minerals are required by the average person in a year?

To maintain our standard of living, each person in the United States requires over 38,449 pounds of minerals each year: 9,426 pounds of stone 6,768 pounds of sand and gravel 655 pounds of cement 142 pounds of clays 338 pounds of salt 244 pounds of iron ore 195 pounds of phosphate rock 34 pounds of soda ash 28 pounds of aluminum 13 pounds of copper...

How do we extract minerals?

The primary methods used to extract minerals from the ground are: Underground mining Surface (open pit) mining Placer mining The location and shape of the deposit, strength of the rock, ore grade, mining costs, and current market price of the commodity are some of the determining factors for selecting which mining method to use. Higher-grade...
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Date published: April 4, 2017

Ordinary Minerals Give Smartphones Extraordinary Capabilities

Earlier this year, Apple’s iPhone celebrated the 10th anniversary of its introduction to the world, an event that fueled a transformation within the technology and communications sector. This revolution would influence billions of smartphone users around the world forever altering many aspects of human life. 

Date published: April 4, 2017

EarthWord–Rock vs. Mineral

Ever wondered what the difference between a rock and a mineral was? This EarthWord should cover it...

Date published: February 15, 2016

EarthWord – Ore

The naturally occurring material from which a mineral or minerals of economic value can be extracted. Usually minerals, especially metals, are mined first in ore form, then refined later.

Date published: May 12, 2015

No Silver Bullet, But a Silver Lining

Once so cheap it was used for pennies, copper is now so valuable that pennies contain almost no copper and they still cost more than one cent to make.

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October 26, 2017

2017 Oct. Public Lecture — Global Trends in Mineral Commodity Supplies

  • The U.S. is increasingly reliant on supply of mineral raw materials from other countries.
  • Advanced technologies are increasingly making use of nearly the entire periodic table of the elements.
  • Dynamic studies of critical and strategic mineral supply and demand can identify emerging potential supply risks.
  • The USGS - National Minerals
...
Image: Supergene Leached Zone at Silver Bell Mine
January 1, 2010

Supergene Leached Zone at Silver Bell Mine

Supergene Leached zone at Silver Bell Mine, AZ.

USGS
September 4, 2008

Why Do Minerals Matter?

You might be surprised where minerals pop up; they're just about everywhere. We sit down with Kathleen Johnson, USGS Mineral Resources Program Coordinator, as she walks us through just how valuable minerals are to our lives.

Mineral Commodity Summaries 2016 cover

Mineral Commodity Summaries 2016

Cover of the USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries 2016 report.

Silver metal specimen with pen for scale

Silver metal specimen

Silver. Pen for scale. Mineral collection of Brigham Young University Department of Geology, Provo, Utah. Photograph by Andrew Silver. BYU index 1-4112b, Ag.