Mining is an important industry in the United States, directly employing about 320,000 people. Every person in the United States uses an average of approximately 40,000 pounds of new minerals annually and 37 million pounds of minerals, fuel and metals in his lifetime.
Of that 37 million pounds, each individual uses as much as 1,000 pounds each of lead and zinc, 2,000 pounds of copper and 6,000 pounds of aluminum, but only 1.8 ounces of gold. Forty different minerals are necessary to make a cell phone, 35 to make a television and 15 to manufacture a car.
Mining is the highest-paying industrial career, paying about $43,000 per year. While mining in the United States is the safest in the world, this profession is responsible overall for more injuries and deaths than any other industry.