Almost all the metals we need for everyday life are mined from the earth's crust.
In contrast to other industries, mining cannot freely choose where to operate: it can only take place in areas where minerals are concentrated on the surface or underground. This can mean operating in sensitive or challenging environments; a trend that looks set to continue as older, easier to reach deposits run out.
Mining and metal production has evolved from being a tough and dirty activity to a high-technology operation, using computerised remote-control equipment and complex machinery. Unlike their predecessors, today's workers are highly trained personnel performing skilled work according to the highest standards of safety and efficiency.
(Image courtesy of The Extractives Baraza 2017)