# What is the total weight of mineral extractions from Earth per year?

I am writing a somewhat realistic space game, and instead of the commercial 3 or 4 commodities model, I am making my players suffer with all 118 elements. I have gathered the data needed to create templates for several types of planets, but when it comes to a template for extraction rates I am finding it surprisingly difficult to come up with some statistics I thought everybody loved, and despite the dozens of pages, I cannot find a site that would give me the total number of tons of minerals extracted from Earth per year. Any working number would do, if you can make a guess.

I read 55 billion tons per year somewhere, but that hinted as including organic production as well. The issue is specially sensitive in my case because what is extracted is taken out of the planet...

Since I am here :D , I am also looking for an estimate of: (1) number of mines in the world (2) number of people working (anyhow) in them (3) Number of factories in the world. Though some of these might better suit some other subject, I'd appreciate if you can point me at some direction. Thanks in advance.

EDIT Only to clarify something about the 118 element model I was asked,as to the mining and usability of some elements: We humans haven't yet discovered all the possibilities, but then Tc didn't have a chance to have its possibilities fully explored because we didn't find any during most of our existence :) However, once you find the technology to perpetuate Tc in a Bose-Einstein state, it is noted that the very properties that make it unusable now makes it the best energy dispersor in existence (important in shield technology). As to mining, yes, on Earth, and Earth minerals, S is a result of Cu mining, but on the gaseous planet Pioi there is no Copper, but plenty of free floating Sulphur, CRUCIAL in terraforming barren planets :) and all mines mine all there is in a body by abundance, not separate mines for each element, or that would be a micromanagement nightmare! I mean, if a settlement has, say, 10000 mines, the output is proportional to abundances of this moon/planet settled (which takes into consideration multiple mining). That is actually why I need the numbers in question! (Incidentally I just remembered that an Rb surface is a great catalyst for alpha particle cycling during the first phases of ignition in star construction :P (It is 'realistic', but still as a sci-fi game)

• Can you edit your question to make it easier to read? White space, bullets, normal capitalization, get rid of the smilies and the planet Pioi? Personally, I skipped this because I'm not going to spend time interpreting what's in that wall of text Nov 7, 2017 at 14:24

This may give you some useful information. You can download the World Mineral Production (2011-2015) produced by the British Geological Survey at this link. This publication has data for approximately 70 different commodities by country and world totals (tonnes).

• Many thanks, that is a great start :) I think I saw it before, and now that I pay attention to some numbers, the almost 1b steel from China kinda makes 55 billion a working number, specially after the idea that metal "weights much more than food" came to me. I read 1/3 of food is lost in the world - 1.3b - making food around 4b, and with our initial 55bT, 50bT seems to be fine for a game, and unless someone says otherwise I`m accepting yours as the answer :) Nov 6, 2017 at 15:34

Not a direct answer, but a comment on this:

commercial 3 or 4 commodities model, I am making my players suffer with all 118 elements

Why? What for?

1. 118 elements have been discovered. Many of them are not stable for more than a fraction of a second, are highly radioactive, and are completely useless. Tc, Pm, most of the actinides and post-actinides.
2. Many elements are mined together with other elements, and not on their own. Cd and In are by products of Zn. La, Ce, Pr and Nd are usually mined together. Same for Ti and V. You don't need a mine for each and every one.
3. Some elements are kind of useless. Rb. Hardly any uses for it. S is a by product of Cu mining, and there's no use for so much. When you mine Pr and Nd, you end up with lots of (almost) worthless La and Ce. What about Th? Hardly any market for it.

If you're writing a realistic space game, make it somewhat realistic. Don't just throw in all elements in the periodic table because that's not realistic.

• Hi, and thanks for your comment - some of the very issues I faced :) I clarified some points with an edit, and believe me that (1) Tc is my baby and there will be plenty of it in proto-planets, etc. Hey, wasn't for the Iridium we wouldn't know of the dinosaurs fate - another use :P (2) No, no mines for each, but thousands of just "mines", that mine what is there. (3) Th? Guess what you will thank god for if you need reactors but your settlement doesn't have any U (and your freighters don't have the time to take any U there cuz they are transporting troopers to the war front)? Nov 6, 2017 at 14:13