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[VIDEO] 3 Minerals that Make Modern Life Work

The metals and minerals produced by the mining industry play a fundamental role in our everyday lives. From the copper wires transmitting electricity in...

Admin
|Mar 15|magazine9 min read

The metals and minerals produced by the mining industry play a fundamental role in our everyday lives. From the copper wires transmitting electricity into our homes, to the minerals used in our smartphones, the following three minerals hold the keys to life in the 21st century.

Platinum

Not only is platinum one of the oldest and rarest elements on the planet, but it’s one of the most sought-after metals for electronics. Platinum serves a critical role in the circuit boards of medical apparatus, electrical gadgets and household gadgets, including fiber optic cables for telecommunication devices. The metal is also critical in keeping people alive, serving a huge role in pacemakers to transmit electrical impulses to stabilize heartbeats.

According to Rio Tinto, platinum is important part of our everyday lives.

“For example, on the roads, catalytic converters use platinum to turn unburned vehicle exhaust fumes into carbon dioxide and steam. In our homes, everyday appliances like fridges are made from plastics and synthetic rubbers chemically created using platinum. And in the medical profession, platinum-based drugs are prescribed to slow the spread of cancer cells for chemotherapy patients.”

Iron ore

Although the price of iron ore may be in decline, the need for this mineral is indispensable.

Iron ore is fundamental in creating railway tracks which have long been a central part of daily life. Not only do they connect families and communities together, but they serve businesses by transporting products, services and freight needed to power the world.

According to the National Mining Association, iron ore is vital in manufacturing steels of various types.

“Powdered iron: used in metallurgy products; magnets; high-frequency cores; auto parts; catalyst. Radioactive iron (iron 59): in medicine; tracer element in biochemical and metallurgical research. Iron blue: in paints, printing inks, plastics, cosmetics, paper dyeing. Black iron oxide: as pigment; in polishing compounds; metallurgy; medicine; magnetic inks.”

Most U.S. iron ore production is from Michigan and Minnesota. Major global producers include China, Australia, Brazil and Russia.

Copper

You think copper is only used for pennies? Think again. The metal, which is vital to so many aspects of modern life, is used in everything from electrical wiring in households and cars to the saucepans in our kitchens. Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, copper can even fight bacteria.

The versatile metal can treat conditions like arthritis, cancer and heart disease while also helping to make local economics run with copper-based coins. Since 3,000 BC, copper has played a pivotal role in powering our daily lives and making the modern world work.

WATCH: Rio Tinto - Making Modern Life Work