May 17, 2020

[VIDEO] 3 Minerals that Make Modern Life Work

2 min
[VIDEO] 3 Minerals that Make Modern Life Work
The metals and minerals produced by the mining industry play a fundamental role in our everyday lives. From the copper wires transmitting electricity in...

The metals and minerals produced by the mining industry play a fundamental role in our everyday lives. From the copper wires transmitting electricity into our homes, to the minerals used in our smartphones, the following three minerals hold the keys to life in the 21st century.


Not only is platinum one of the oldest and rarest elements on the planet, but it’s one of the most sought-after metals for electronics. Platinum serves a critical role in the circuit boards of medical apparatus, electrical gadgets and household gadgets, including fiber optic cables for telecommunication devices. The metal is also critical in keeping people alive, serving a huge role in pacemakers to transmit electrical impulses to stabilize heartbeats.

According to Rio Tinto, platinum is important part of our everyday lives.

“For example, on the roads, catalytic converters use platinum to turn unburned vehicle exhaust fumes into carbon dioxide and steam. In our homes, everyday appliances like fridges are made from plastics and synthetic rubbers chemically created using platinum. And in the medical profession, platinum-based drugs are prescribed to slow the spread of cancer cells for chemotherapy patients.”

Iron ore

Although the price of iron ore may be in decline, the need for this mineral is indispensable.

Iron ore is fundamental in creating railway tracks which have long been a central part of daily life. Not only do they connect families and communities together, but they serve businesses by transporting products, services and freight needed to power the world.

According to the National Mining Association, iron ore is vital in manufacturing steels of various types.

“Powdered iron: used in metallurgy products; magnets; high-frequency cores; auto parts; catalyst. Radioactive iron (iron 59): in medicine; tracer element in biochemical and metallurgical research. Iron blue: in paints, printing inks, plastics, cosmetics, paper dyeing. Black iron oxide: as pigment; in polishing compounds; metallurgy; medicine; magnetic inks.”

Most U.S. iron ore production is from Michigan and Minnesota. Major global producers include China, Australia, Brazil and Russia.


You think copper is only used for pennies? Think again. The metal, which is vital to so many aspects of modern life, is used in everything from electrical wiring in households and cars to the saucepans in our kitchens. Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, copper can even fight bacteria.

The versatile metal can treat conditions like arthritis, cancer and heart disease while also helping to make local economics run with copper-based coins. Since 3,000 BC, copper has played a pivotal role in powering our daily lives and making the modern world work.

WATCH: Rio Tinto - Making Modern Life Work

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Jun 29, 2021

Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations

battery metals
2 min
Vale’s $150mn investment in operations at Thompson, Manitoba will extend mine life by 10 years

Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.

Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel

The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.

“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.

“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”

Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba

Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.

“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.

“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”

The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history.  Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.

“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.

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