As we have said in the former post “mining and natural resources I: Size of the largest open pit mines” when I started to study open pit mines I wanted to obtain a general approach about mining activity through mining operations. This idea was a bit naive and I quickly understood that is really though to have a general overview about mining activity just through aerial photography.

In this study I also wanted to measure some foot-print impact of open pit mining in environment, but my approach was also very partial and it will conclude in having an unspecific and distorted view of this activity.

These conclusions came because we lack several things that are relevant for the study as, for example, subterranean mines activity or recycling activity. So the 13 mines that I have measured in the former post are just a small sample (but with large impact on the territory) of what is happening in mining and natural resource extraction industry.

Of course, as I approached the problem, it seemed to be more interesting and full of questions to study. So I needed to be more accurate on what I was going to focus to try to reach some useful information that was interesting to show for you in city-lines.

After considering different options and having seen some partial issues of the mining industry I started studying copper mines. I thought that it was a representative mineral because it is a commodity widely used in the world. I also thought that I was going to have enough information to follow with my “overall approach” to this natural resource, but again it was not as easy as I supposed.


So in this effort to study the open pit (and non-open pit) copper mining industry I made another attempt to map the most important copper mines that were round the world and I get the map that is shown in the post. There you can see the mines that provided approximately the 65% of the world copper production in 2013.

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