Why California's Drought is Good News for Gold Prospectors

Having found a gold lining to the otherwise devastating drought on the west coast of the US, prospectors are flocking to the record-low rivers of the Sierra Nevada foothills. A mini gold rush has kicked off in previously inaccessible riverbeds, not far from the site of California's original gold rush. Read More >>

The Latest Mining Boom? Plants That Eat Metal and Scrub the Soil Clean

Plants that eat metal sound like a biological impossibility. But these hungry little guys exist, sucking tiny bits of toxic metal from the soil. They don't just clean the Earth, either—they can actually mine bits of gold and nickel for use by humans. Read More >>

How Engineers are Moving an Entire Town Two Miles Down the Road

The city of Kiruna, Sweden, is sinking—the iron mines beneath it are making the ground collapse. So, over the next two decades, its 20,000 residents will be relocated, along with their homes, offices, stores, and schools, to another, brand-new city about two miles to the east. Read More >>

The World's Oldest Underground Fire Has Been Burning for 6,000 Years

If you've heard of underground coal fires, then you've probably heard of the one raging under the abandoned town of Centralia, Pennsylvania, since 1962. Fifty-two years is a long time—and a lot of coal—but that's barely a blink compared to Burning Mountain in Australia, which has been ablaze for 6,000 years. Read More >>

Germany is Relocating Entire Towns to Excavate More Sweet, Sweet Coal

Most of us think of Germany as one of the most energy-progressive countries in the world. But in recent years, it's also increased its dependence on a form of energy that's anything but clean: coal. The country is demolishing, or relocating, entire towns to get at it. Read More >>

5 Crazy Places We Can Go Looking for Diamonds

Hold on to your engagement rings. Diamonds, according to an industry report, are falling off a supply cliff in 2018. As existing diamond mines are depleted even as worldwide demand increases—thanks, especially to a newly rich Asia—three months wages might soon buy you a much punier rock. Read More >>

monster machines
These Autonomous Dump Trucks Let Mines Operate Around the Clock

As the pace of robotic integration into the modern workforce continues to increase, automatons are finding their way into an ever wider variety of industries. Already making an impact in the agricultural sector, automatons are now poised to perform the task of driving massive, house sized mining trucks—a job once held only by highly skilled and highly paid human drivers. Read More >>

Scientists Discover Gold Literally Growing on Trees in the Outback

Every parent's favorite line about how money doesn't grow on trees just became a little more irrelevant, thanks to a fascinating find down under. Researchers in Australia recently found gold—yes, real gold—in eucalyptus trees growing in the outback. Read More >>

Bitcoin Currency Inspires Erotic Post-Apocalyptic Sex Novel

Author Kayleen Knight has somehow managed to write 10,000 erotically-charged words about a future world dominated by virtual currency Bitcoin, in her ebook King of Bitcoin -- a piece of fiction that contains "scenes of an explicit graphic sexual nature" as well as nerds arguing about mining pretend cash. Read More >>

The Congo Mines That Supply "Conflict Minerals" For the World's Gadgets

Most people who own a smartphone—or a laptop, or a new car—aren’t familiar with tantalum, the rare, blue-grey metal that conducts electricity through these devices. But thanks to skyrocketing demand from electronics makers, tantalum—along with a handful of other rare minerals—is an incredibly sought-after metal. And it’s fuelling the ongoing conflict in Congo. Read More >>

Researchers Discover 12 Asteroids Close Enough for Space Mining

This was on the back of researchers' minds when a team from the University of Strathclyde parsed through the list of 9,000 near-Earth objects to find which ones could be easily blasted into accessible orbit. They found 12 candidates that could be sent this way by changing their velocity by just 500 metres per second. These asteroids, so called "easily retrievable objects," are all about a million kilometres from Earth and existing rocket technology would be enough to provide the thrust. Read More >>

giz explains
Where the Most Important Part of Your Battery Comes From

Lithium (Greek for "stone") is the third element on the periodic table, a silvery-white alkali metal that's soft enough to be cut with a table knife. It's also the lightest metal on Earth, as well as the least-dense solid element. It has the equivalent density of a plank of pine wood, and half that of water. It floats in oil (and water too, though that'd end very badly since, you know, alkali go boom), and since it's reactive with moisture in the air, pure lithium is typically stored in anaerobic conditions and covered in either mineral oil, petroleum jelly, or some other such non-reactive liquid. Read More >>

Here's Your Chance to Become One of the First Asteroid Prospectors

It was just over a year ago, back in April 2012, that we first learned the intentions of a company known as Planetary Resources: Asteroid mining. As in going into space, finding an asteroid that's not-too-far from Earth, and mining it for precious minerals and/or water which could be used as space-fuel for other missions. In a word: Ambitious. Read More >>

Digital Drills: The Monster Machines that Mine Bitcoin

Bitcoin! It's everywhere right now. Its value is dropping, spiking, dropping again. More and more new converts are hopping in, buying a few coins and trying their hands at the market, looking to make a quick buck with a profitable exchange. But all the while, there's an ever-dwindling army of specialists working in the shadows, painstakingly extracting more and more digital doubloons from the cryptographic static. Read More >>

Bitcoin Mining Has an Absurd Environmental Impact

Ah digital currency. It's all in our collective hive-mind right? Coming and going in bits and bytes. Nothing to see here. So why is a hacking process called "Bitcoin mining" using £95,000 worth of electricity a day? This had better be good. Read More >>

New Asteroid Mining Company Sending Out Initial Probes in 2015

The idea of mining in space surely can't be anything more than a massive tax dodge by the richest people on the planet, but... a second space mining company has announced plans to mine asteroids for valuable minerals. It's really going to happen. Read More >>


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