In 2010 about 1.9 million US jobs were directly and indirectly related to mining.
And while America is still shaking off the effects of the financial crisis in 2008, the mining sector has proven a stabilizer for resource-rich states
Here from the National Mining Association are the top mining states in the US ranked by the value of mineral production from 2011:
1. Nevada ($10,400,000,000)
Nevada is one of the largest sources of gold in the world and home to operations by some of the world’s largest majors, like Newmont Mining and Barrick Gold Corporation. Nearly 80% of all the gold mined in the United States comes from Nevada. The Carlin Trend, where companies like Barrick and Goldstrike currently mine, is thought to contain more than 35,000,000 troy ounces. Back in 1965, when the first mine began gold production in the region, gold was a meager $35 per troy ounce.
2. Arizona ($8,250,000,000)
In 1853 the state was subject to a gold rush similar to California’s after prospectors reported gold floating down the Colorado. Jump forward to today and Arizona is all about copper production. Companies based in Arizona, such as the Bagdad Copper Company formed in 1927, account for 63 percent of the copper produced in the United States. Other notable companies in the state include Freeport-McMoRan, ASARCO and BHP Copper.
3. Minnesota ($5,120,000,000)
Iron is the word when it comes to mining in Minnesota. In 1892 the Merritt brothers established Mountain Iron Mine. After the company passed hands to John D. Rockefeller, Minnesota was the largest producer of iron ore for the United States. The state is also home to one of the largest open pit mines in the world – the Hull-Rust-Mahoning, 2.4 km by 5.6 km wide. The Mahoning mine, operated by Hibbing Taconite is just one of a slew of companies active in the state: Magnetation LLC, Cliffs Natural Resources, Kennecott and Polyment.
4. Utah ($4,570,000,000)
Iron may be Minnesota’s game, but Utah has all sorts of options. From Uranium with Denison Mines Corp., to coal with Pacificorp. But if one brings up mining in Utah copper cannot go over looked. In fact Utah is home to the deepest open-pit copper mine. Owned by mining giant Rio Tinto, is the Bingham Canyon Mine southwest of Salt Lake City. The mine has been in operation for over 100 years and is 1.2 km deep.
5. Alaska ($3,790,000,000)
Hecla Mining, Sumitomo, Fairbanks Gold Mining, NovaGold and Harmony Gold are currently mining gold in this northern state. However it isn’t all gold. The Pebble Mine, currently in permitting stages, is a copper-gold project with measured and indicated mineral resources making it only slightly smaller than the Grasberg mine in Indonesia. Large projects aside, in 2007 there were over 170 placer mines operating in Alaska.
Arizona's Bisbee copper strip mine
Nevada's Chemetall Foote lithium operation in Clayton Valley