The 135th merit badge - Mining in Society

Whether it’s the vats, kettles and pipes used by manufacturers that produce our food, the satellites and mobile devices that connect us, or the medical devices that can better our health, most of the items we rely on for modern living would not be possible without mining. And now, the Boy Scouts of America is also placing the mining industry in a place of prominence, making Mining in Society one of its newest merit badges.

The Mining in Society merit badge got its introduction during the 2014 Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration’s (SME) annual meeting held February in Salt Lake City this year. SME is a professional organization with more than 15,000 members across 85 countries.

The 1,000 mines and quarries in the United States and thousands more around the world provide livelihoods and products that improve our lives. On average, it takes 15 minerals to make a car, 30 minerals to make a computer and 42 minerals to make a phone—and copper is an essential mineral element in each of these products.

At Rio Tinto Kennecott, copper, molybdenum, silver and gold are mined and then distributed around the world. Kennecott’s Bingham Canyon Mine has produced, on average, 25 percent of the copper used in the U.S. each year.

Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout and senior editor of Scouting writes, the merit badge requirements include a look mining’s history, the current status of mining in the U.S. in addition to the variety of modern mining careers available today. Earning merit badges is a primary component of the scouting advancement program, providing scouts from age 6 through 18 the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills in a wide array of areas.