The marble-tipped Apuan Alps in northern Tuscany have been quarried for 2,000 years, providing material for many of the world’s most well-known sculptures and architecture.
Enter the Isle of Staffa’s Fingal’s Cave in Scotland and you’ll find one of the most inspiring alcoves in the world. Made up entirely of hexagonal columns, Fingal’s Cave has evoked strong sentiment for hundreds of years in those who dared to enter. When German composer Felix Mendelssohn visited Fingal’s Cave in 1829, he was so inspired by the echoing sound emitted by the waves he wrote the now famous “Hebrides, Op. 26”, also known as “Fingal’s Cave Overture”.
The sun sets on a fleet of Sandvik TH663 underground trucks at the Plutonic gold mine in Western Australia.
Research published in PLoS ONE and Geochemistry: Exploration, Environment, Analysis may have discovered a way for nature to do the “heavy lifting” of deep prospecting work. The study found that termite mounds contained high concentrations of gold. “We’re using insects to help find new gold and other mineral deposits,” says CSIRO entomologist Dr Aaron Stewart. Termites and ants burrow into the ground to create tunnels that serve as a ventilation system for the underground nest.
The Scandinavian city of Stockholm undergoes a facelift at the locks where Lake Mälaren meets the Baltic Sea.
Walls of salt, 250 million years old and 35 metres high, dwarf a Sandvik LH621 loader at esco – european salt company’s mine in Bernburg, Germany.
Before modern-day quarries even conceived of loaders, there was the Blondin. This high-wire contraption was a type of ropeway used in open-pit quarries in Wales. It was named for Charles “The Great” Blondin, a famous French tightrope walker from the 19th century. Blondin became famous for crossing Niagara Falls at the US-Canadian border on a tightrope suspended 50 metres above the water many times, once even sitting down halfway, cooking and eating an omelette.
Asteroid mining is quickly becoming a reality. Companies such as Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries are searching for cost-efficient ways to mine large asteroidal specimens and excavate the precious resources within, the yields of which are estimated in the trillions of dollars. Asteroids are replete with platinum, nickel, cobalt and water, which can be broken down into fuel, solving one of the great problems of space exploration: fuel availability.
Outside of Velardeña in northern Mexico, a 30-million-tonne zinc deposit is breathing new life into the area.
Government controlled alcohol sales in Sweden started with miners. King Fredrik decided in 1766 to abolish all restrictions on making liquor, which resulted in excessive drunkenness. At copper mines in Falun, alcohol-related accidents and fatalities had risen to disturbing levels. Mine owners petitioned to form a distribution company with exclusive rights to build distilleries and sell liquor. The end result was a state organization whose job involved regulating all alcohol sales in the city, safely and responsibly.
The Berkeley Pit, a former open-pit mine, is now a man-made lake that contains more than 150 billion litres of toxic water. The water is heavily acidic and has taken on an almost blood-red colour from the copper and iron deposits. It looks like one of those places devoid of life entirely, but it’s not; it is home to a new species of fungi that could lead to important advances in modern medicine.