At today's prices, this is $74 billion worth of gold. The amount yielded by the Evander Gold Field near Johannesburg.

What we took from the Earth

What we took from the Earth

Photos: Dillon Marsh

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When we mine the land for precious minerals, what do we gain, and what do we lose?

These giant balls of metal each represent an exact amount of material: the volumes produced by various mines in South Africa.

Artist and photographer Dillon Marsh wanted to visualise the value that humans have taken from the Earth, and its impact.

He added digital balls of material to these photos of scarred landscapes to illustrate what was gained, and what was lost.

The series is called: ‘For what it’s worth’.

South Africa’s natural resources have helped shape its history and economy. This is all the rhodium the country has produced: 404 tonnes. It is mainly used in catalytic converters that reduce pollution from vehicles.
South Africa has produced 4,230 tonnes of platinum, which is used in catalytic converters and in the chemicals industry.
Nababeep Mine, in the west of the country, has yielded 302,500 tonnes of copper – a billion dollars’ worth at today’s prices. The metal is used for electrical wires, and as a building material.
38,500 tonnes of copper – the output of Tweefontein Mine.
Koffiefontein Mine has produced 7.6 million carats (1.5 tonnes) of diamonds. You might need to zoom in to see them.
There we go. Billions of dollars’ worth.
Kimberley Mine has yielded 14.5 million carats (2.9 tonnes) of diamonds. They’re right in the middle there.
See it now?
The Far West Rand Gold Field has yielded 10,855 tonnes of gold. Worth $575 billion at today’s prices.
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