As excavators here in Houston, we have a knack for moving the Earth; but no matter how big our digs get, there’s still a bigger hole out there. That’s the topic for today’s blog: the biggest and deepest excavations performed by mankind.

The World’s Largest Strip Mine

The Hull-Rust-Mahoning Mine is recognized as the world’s largest pit mine. Based in Hibbing, Minnesota along the Mesabi Range, this mine has been utilized for its wealth of iron ore. The mine became so big in 1919, in fact, that the town of Hibbing was relocated to continue expansion of the pit. Since groundbreak, the mine has produced some 690 million tons of iron ore, as well as 519 million tons of waste material that had to be moved to access the valuable metal. The strip mine is 1.5 miles by 3.5 miles wide, and it reaches 600 feet in depth in certain locations. Wow! That’s a lot of dirt!

The World’s Deepest Mine

Located near Johannesburg, South Africa lies the world’s deepest mine: the AngloGold Ashanti’s Mponeng mine. The mine is utilized to pull gold from the earth, and it produced 405,000 ounces of gold in the year 2012 alone. The mine’s lowest depths currently exceed 4 kilometers beneath the earth’s surface, and digging continues. Mine operators plan to keep the mine running well into the 2040s. The mine is operated by a slew of miners alongside with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities which properly ventilate the entirety of the mine.