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Behold the Minerals Baby

By Mark S. Kuhar

The Minerals Education Coalition (MEC) of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. (SME) has released the 2014 “Minerals Baby” graphic. Each year, the amount of minerals and energy fuels needed for the average American is incorporated into the iconic graphic. This year’s statistics reflect an increase of more than 24,000 lb. during a lifetime when compared with the previous year’s per capita usage.


“This annual, easy-to-read visual is used by a variety of nontechnical audiences, from educators in K-12 classroom activities, to congressional committees when referencing the need for legislative changes to federal policies that affect our mineral needs – from basic living to national defense,” said SME Executive Director David L. Kanagy. “The value of producing this graphic is that it reminds all of us of the important role minerals have in our lives and lifestyles.”

The Minerals Baby emphasizes the dependence that each American has on the mining industry. With the life expectancy in the United States averaging 78.7 years, the average American will need 38,524 lb. of mined resources annually to provide the products and materials on which they depend. This equates to 3.03 million lb. needed during their lifetime.

Using information provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Mining Association, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the U.S. Census Bureau and other sources, the MEC calculates the amount of minerals and energy fuels that are consumed in the average lifetime of an American born in the current year. The Minerals Baby and United States per capita usage can be downloaded in jpeg format and reproduced.

The MEC’s mission is to identify, produce and disseminate fact-based minerals information and K-12 education activities that inform and educate the public about the importance of mining in their everyday lives. For more information about MEC, go to