Planet Earth is no stranger to natural wonders, many of which come in the form of rich (or otherwise interesting) mining sites. Many hotspots across the globe are helping to create riches for several lucky mining companies, and although not every mine is a treasure trove of precious gems waiting to be excavated, the natural beauty held within these hidden wonders is overwhelming enough to inspire many would-be explorers. A look into some of the world’s most extraordinary mines will no doubt be enough to bring out the inner adventurer in even the most timid Web surfer.
The Jwaneng Diamond Mine – Kalahari Dessert, Botswana
Known as the richest diamond mine in the world, the Debswana-owned Jwaneng diamond mine yields approximately 10 million carats of diamonds a year. The high-quality diamonds retrieved from this open-pit mine, coupled with the readily available supply of said gems, have made Jwaneng a true mining hotspot, and a coveted one.
Grasberg Gold Mine – Papua, Indonesia
Located high in the Indonesian mountains, Grasberg is to gold what Jwaneng is to diamonds. As the most fertile gold mine known to man, Grasberg produced nearly 60 million grams of gold in 2016 alone. Not just a gold mine, the large open-pit mine of Grasberg, which employs nearly 20,000 workers, also yields a profound amount of silver and copper ore. Grasberg is the third most dense copper deposit in the world.
The Bushveld Igneous Complex – The Transvaal Basin, South Africa
As the world’s largest platinum-group metal reserve, the Bushveld Igneous Complex yields an absolutely massive amount of platinum, palladium, iron, tin, osmium, titanium, vanadium, rhodium, iridium and ruthenium. Mining the layered intrusion of the Bushveld Complex, which was formed an estimated two billion years ago, also serves as a geography lesson, as the land formations of the surrounding areas, and the complex itself, are quite intricate and unique.
Matsuo Kouzan – Iwate-Ken, Northern Japan
Surrounded by an ever-present ethereal mist, the chilling mining hot spot of Matsuo Kouzan was once the largest sulfur mine in Japan and all across the globe. High in the mountains, the abandoned mine (which has been referred to as one of the creepiest places in the world, no less) is now a ghostly location littered with broken-down living quarters formerly used by the miners. If a brave traveler can locate the mines in the mountains of Northern Japan, nothing but wildlife and eerie quiet would be found.
Salina Turda – Transylvania, Romania
Now a tourist attraction that acts as a mining museum located in Turda, Transylvania, Salina Turda was once a sprawling salt mine. After having been an active salt deposit for what is estimated to have been more than a thousand years, the mining of Salina Turda was abandoned in the early 20th century, and is now a 370-feet deep tourism attraction, complete with mini games and educational facilities.
Many mining zones across the world have become financial and tourism hotspots, generating fabulous amounts of revenue for the fortunate owners and operators. Ranging from active and bustling to abandoned and eerie, the mines of the world will continue to be known as some of the most enticing and profitable locations known to man.
By Christopher White