Americans will need nearly three million pounds of minerals in their lifetime

SME Releases 2021 Mineral Baby Graphic

The Minerals Education Coalition (MEC) of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. (SME) has released the iconic “Mineral Baby” graphic for 2021. MEC annually calculates the amount of minerals and energy fuels that are consumed in the average lifetime of an American born in the current year.

“This graphic and the message it conveys are used by a variety of audiences, from educators, to data trend analysts, to legislative committees considering changes to policies that affect our mineral needs,” said SME Executive Director and CEO David L. Kanagy. “This visual reminds all of us of the important role that the production of minerals and energy have in our daily lives, our lifestyles and our high standard of living. Our cars, roads and homes all started with and depend upon mined materials.”

The Mineral Baby graphic emphasizes the dependence that every American has on the mining and minerals industry. According to the 2020 U.S. Geological Survey Mineral Commodity Summaries, “Minerals remained fundamental to the U.S. economy, contributing to the real gross domestic product at several levels, including mining, processing, and manufacturing finished products.” Using information for the previous year provided by USGS, the National Mining Association, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the U.S. Census Bureau and other sources, MEC calculated the annual pounds of mined resources Americans used per capita as 38,272 pounds. With the average life expectancy of 77.3 years, the average American will need 2.96 million pounds of minerals, metals, and fuels to provide the products and materials they will depend upon in their lifetime.

To see the latest data, visit

2021 MEC Mineral Baby

The Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME) brings together the mining and mineral industry’s brightest and most dedicated professionals. Over 13,000 global members advance their careers with the world-class technical resources, educational programs, networking opportunities and professional development tools from SME. Our members are focused on sharing best practices for safety, environmental stewardship and moving mining forward.

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