From empire to enterprise: 100 years of history through mineral extraction statistics

Brown, T.J.. 2015 From empire to enterprise: 100 years of history through mineral extraction statistics. In: 18th Extractive Industry Geology (EIG) conference, St Andrews, UK, 12-13 June 2014. EIG Conferences Ltd, 125-131.

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In 1913, the average annual wage in the UK was £72, the British Empire was approaching its peak in size and 162 million tonnes of iron ore was produced worldwide. The latter figure appears to be a huge quantity but 100 years later, in 2012, this had increased to nearly 3000 million tonnes, a 1700 per cent increase. However, the rate of production increase during the century has not been smooth, with output nearly trebling since 2001 alone. Perhaps it is not surprising that consumption and production of most minerals have increased over the last 100 years,but which ones have experienced the most dramatic changes? Is it the so called ‘critical’ or ‘technology’ metals used in an array of modern devices such as mobile phones and photovoltaic cells, or the more common, bulk minerals such as coal or iron ore? Furthermore, how have the principal producing countries changed over time? The British Geological Survey (BGS) is one of only two organisations globally that has the data to address these questions. A team at the BGS collects, analyses and publishes mineral production data by country for more than 70 commodities. The BGS dataset contains continuous annual data from 1913 and in 2014 the BGS published its 100th year of data. This paper examines the variations in the production of minerals between 1913 and 2012, as reflected in the BGS data. Human development, innovation and enterprise have evolved dramatically over the last century and are clearly reflected in global mineral production statistics. Particular sectors such as aerospace, the automotive industry and technological developments are used to illuminate trends and highlight significant changes that have occurred over the past 100 years.

Item Type: Publication - Conference Item (Paper)
ISSN: 2055-3250
Additional Keywords: mineral production statistics century world
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 15 Oct 2018 12:47 +0 (UTC)

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