China is not only a big user and exporter of minerals – it is also the world’s biggest miner as far as countries go.
In 2017, the latest year available with the World Mining Congresses, China excavated almost 4.1 billion metric tons of fossil fuels and iron as well as non-ferrous and other metals. The biggest single contributor to this statistic was coal – listed as a mineral fuel -, of which more than 3 billion tons were excavated. The second most excavated mineral in China was iron, of which the country extracted 330 million tons.
Similar to China, many countries in the top 10 of the world’s biggest miners relied almost exclusively on mineral fuels. Saudi Arabia’s and Indonesia’s share of mineral fuels of all mining output were 97 percent and 99 percent respectively. Other players, like Australia and Brazil, extract between 45 and 55 percent iron (including ferro-alloys). The United States was also heavily, but not exclusively, relying on mineral fuels for its mining industry. Their share stood at 94 percent in 2017 – divided approximately equally between coal and petroleum.