General Kinnematics

The 2021 MEC Mineral Baby Shows the Importance of Mined Minerals

Rebecca Smith

September 21, 2021

Since 1995, an illustration of a baby that has come to be known as the “Mineral Baby” informs the American public about the amount of minerals and energy fuels consumed in the average lifetime of an American born in the current year. MEC has released the 27th edition of the iconic “Mineral Baby” graphic for 2021. According to this most recent edition, each person born in 2021 will use on average 828 lbs. of copper, 1.32 million lbs. of stone, sand and gravel, 17,068 lbs. of iron ore and 1.51 Troy ounce of gold in their lifetime.

To create each year’s version of the graphic, MEC first receives the raw mineral statistics compiled by the National Mineral Association (NMA). NMA gathers most of that information from the annual U.S. Geological Survey’s Mineral Commodity Summaries in addition to gleaning the energy statistics from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. They also add in the U.S. Census Bureau’s population number. MEC then combines these statistics with current U.S. life expectancy from the CDC to produce the information of mineral resource use for an entire person’s lifetime in the United States. All these full-year statistics are, of course, necessarily from the previously completed year.

“This graphic and the message it conveys are used by a variety of audiences, from educators, to data trend analysts, to legislative committees considering changes to policies that affect our mineral needs,” said SME Executive Director and CEO David L. Kanagy. “This visual reminds all of us of the important role that the production of minerals and energy have in our daily lives, our lifestyles and our high standard of living. Our cars, roads and homes all started with and depend upon mined materials.”

The great thing about the MEC Mineral Baby yearly graphic is that it provides a short, simple yet very impactful way to communicate the importance of mined minerals to our lives. It’s primary effect is the “Wow!” that most people experience the first time they see all of the different mineral resources that they themselves are using all the time. They can then explore further at the MEC website to find answers to questions raised by this new realization. They can learn more about these mineral resources and how they are used in nearly everything we need on a daily basis. The graphic is also available for downloading free from the website. The sole purpose of the graphic is education. We often receive requests to use it in publications and we are happy to provide it. For more information visit

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