How Much Minerals Are Actually Produced From Major Mining Operations

These eye-opening images taken by photographer Dillon Marsh ask the question: Is it really worth it? Is the environmental destruction of massive mining really worth the meager result?

Marsh travels across South Africa to capture images of the mines. To get a visual understanding of what’s really happening to these massive mining operations, he uses a CGI mockup of the minerals actually produced and pairs it with each photo of the mine.

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Kimberly Diamond Mine, also known as the Big Hole. It’s longer than four football fields, and almost four times deeper than Lake Erie. See that tiny dot in the middle of the hole? That’s the actual size of the diamond the mine produced.

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For What It’s Worth by Dillon Marsh

Here’s a closer look.

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For What It’s Worth by Dillon Marsh

Koffiefontein Diamond Mine, which just closed earlier this year (2014).

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For What It’s Worth by Dillon Marsh

Here’s the CGI representation of the diamond produced.

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For What It’s Worth by Dillon Marsh

​Jagersfontein Diamond Mine, which is known for producing two of the biggest diamonds ever discovered.

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For What It’s Worth by Dillon Marsh

All in all, this is it.

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For What It’s Worth by Dillon Marsh

Blue Copper Mine

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For What It’s Worth by Dillon Marsh

West O’okiep Copper Mine

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For What It’s Worth by Dillon Marsh

​Nababeep South Copper Mine

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For What It’s Worth by Dillon Marsh

Tweefontein Copper Mine

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For What It’s Worth by Dillon Marsh

Jubilee Copper Mine

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For What It’s Worth by Dillon Marsh

Credit: Dillon Marsh via FastCo Exist

“Mineral resources fuel growth and development, of course, but by looking at things from a different angle I hope I can encourage people to think critically about the true costs and benefits,” Dillon Marsh says.

Is it really worth it? You be the judge.

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