Top Five Open Cut Mines from Around the World

Open-cut mining is used when the minerals are found over a large area and relatively close to the surface. It is a surface mining technique that extracts rock or minerals from the earth by their removal from an open pit or borrow.

Unlike the deepest underground mines, which are mostly concentrated in South Africa, the deepest open pit mines are scattered across the world in some of the most amazing places on the planet.

Here are the five largest open cut mines from around the world:

Mirny, Russia

The Mirny Mine, based in the Sakha Republic, Russia is the second largest man-made pit in the world.

It is so big that it has a no-fly zone around it due to the downdraft it creates!

The mine was built in 1957 and closed in 2011.  However, when the mine was operational it was notorious for the extreme conditions where temperatures dropped in winter enough to cause rubber and steel to shatter.

It produced 10 million carats of diamond per annum $$$

Escondida, Chile

Escondida copper mine ranks as the third deepest open-pit operation and is currently the world’s largest copper producing mine.  The pit is 3.9km long, 2.7km wide and 645m deep.

Located in the Atacama Desert, Chile the operation consists of two open-pit mines, namely Escondida pit and Escondida Norte pit.

BHP Billiton is the operator of the mine with 57.5% interest. Rio Tinto holds 30% stake in the mine.

It produced 1.1Mt of copper in the financial year ending June 2013, which accounts for about five percent of global copper production. Escondida’s recoverable copper reserve was estimated to be more than 32.6Mt as of December 2012.

Creighton Mine, Canada

Creighton mine is the ninth deepest mine in the world and the world’s deepest nickel mine with a mining depth extending to up 2.42km.

The first production from the open-pit was made in 1901 with underground operations commencing in 1906.

Owned and operated by Vale, current mining methods used include shrinkage mining and mechanised undercut-and-fill mining.

The mine produced 608,000t of ore grading 2.77% copper and 2.55% nickel in 2018.

Exploration drilling carried out at Creighton in 2007 confirmed mineralisation at depth. The Creighton Deep exploration project doubled the proven and probable reserve to 32Mt grading 1.9% to 2.2% nickel and 2% to 2.3% copper.

Fimiston Gold Mine, Australia

Fimiston Gold Mine is Australia’s largest open-pit mine, measuring 3.5km in length, 1.5km in width and 360m in depth.

Also known as the “Super Pit” and “Golden Mine”, it is located 600 kilometres east of Perth on the south-east edge of the Kalgoorlie-boulder

Owned by Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines, a joint venture between Newmont Mining Corporation and Barrick Gold Corporation, the mine produces 850,000oz annually and has an estimated 8.84 million ounces of proven and probable reserves.

Chuquicamata, Chile

The Chuquicamata (‘Chuqui’) mine is the second deepest open pit mine in the world, at a depth in excess of 850 metres and the largest open-pit copper mine in the world.

Located in the north of Chile, the mine has been operation since 1910, and is now owned by Codelco, a state-owned operation since the Chilean nationalisation of copper mining.

It produces around 11% of the world’s copper supply, which equates to 350,000 tonnes per annum.

MEC Mining provides a diverse range of consultancy services to clients throughout Australia and Internationally.  MEC Mining has a team of skilled and experienced mine planners and technical consultants undertaking work on mining studies across various commodities and mining methods.

The benefits of expat mining work: 4 reasons to take the plunge

Choosing a job where you’ll be working overseas is a major decision for most people. There are plenty of opportunities for expat work in the mining industry, so should you board that plane if you’re offered offshore work?

We’ve listed the top four benefits of expat work to help you decide.

An international education

Anyone who’s undertaken work as an expat will tell you that you can’t put a price on how much you learn. If you’re lucky, you may find yourself in an exotic and appealing location but regardless of where you are, you’ll have the opportunity to:

  • develop foreign language skills
  • step out of your comfort zone
  • work with people from other cultures
  • open your mind to new ways of doing things.

The future is global

The world is getting smaller, and different time zones and cultures are no longer barriers to business. The worldly insights that expat work provides is valuable currency in the job market and, increasingly, executive-level jobs demand global thinking and direct experience with other cultures. Whether you fancy yourself as a CEO down the track or you just want to position yourself for the best roles on offer in future, overseas experience is a highly regarded attribute on your CV.

Kudos to you

No doubt about it: working overseas can be challenging, confronting and stressful at times. It’s not always easy to be far from home, in unfamiliar territory and subject to different working conditions. But if you can cope with the pressure and deliver, you’ll prove to your employer – and yourself! – that you’re brave, smart and capable.

Doors will open

As we’ve already mentioned, companies value international experience when they’re hiring, so expat work gives you an edge in the job stakes when you go searching for your next role. Besides this, the new skills and perspectives you glean overseas are likely to open your mind to broader possibilities in work and life. You may find that, after flying across the world and stepping into the unknown, the sky’s the limit.