Industrial Minerals

Industrial minerals are non-metals including crushed rock, sand, and gravel. They are essential for construction of buildings and highways, and are used in many household products and industrial processes.


Crushed gravel-sized stone, an example of an industrial mineral. Image Credit:  Bill Bradley,, Licensed under Creative Commons, CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Industrial minerals are non-metal and non-fuel mineral resources including, for example, crushed rock, gravel, clays, sand (silica), gypsum, bentonite, and barite. They are the fundamental ingredients of roads and buildings, and they are essential for many industrial, commercial, and personal products and activities.   Read more

Frequently Asked Questions

Latest News

U.S. Capitol
March 7, 2017 Soda ash, also known as sodium carbonate, which is used in products such as glass, detergent, and other industrial goods, may receive a royalty cut. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) introduced the "American Soda Ash Competitiveness Act" (S.546) to temporarily reduce the government royalty...
Atlantic waves
October 24, 2016 The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) recently completed two projects undertaken after Hurricane Sandy. The two projects, which were in collaboration with 13 Atlantic coastal states, included updating maps, consolidating databases of offshore sediment resources, and...
Logo of the Society of Mining and Metallurgy Exploration, Inc. (SME)
The Society for Mining and Metallurgy Exploration, Inc. (SME) has posted a new Technical Briefing Paper on the website regarding Federal Support for U.S. Mining Schools. In it they provide background on the issue, outline reasons investment in these programs is valuable to the American public and...

Case Studies & Factsheets


Background In areas prone to winter precipitation, transportation infrastructure must be able to quickly respond to snow and ice on roadways. Ice removal is a vital service in these communities. Deicing chemicals melt ice by lowering the temperature at which it melts. They can also prevent new...

Mining Operation to Produce Road Aggregate, Flowell, Utah. Image Credit:Lee Siebert, Smithsonian Institution.

Between 1990 and 2000, the population of Tooele, Utah, increased 51.3 percent to 40,735. As demand for construction and aggregate increased, the expanding neighborhoods began encroaching on aggregate operations. The new residents considered the appearance, noise, dust, and traffic associated...

Fig. 1. Simplified geologic map of the Rifle and Silt quadrangles in Garfield County, CO. Yellow indicates unconsolidated sand and gravel deposits. Yellow with black dots indicates deposits of wind-blown silt (loess). Credit: USGS

Defining the Problem As population and urban development have escalated along the Colorado River valley in Garfield County, Colorado, the demand for sand and gravel resources has increased dramatically. Sand and gravel are the basic materials used in most construction projects from roads and...

Research Database Publications

Cover image of factsheet; Image credit: SME
2010, Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration Inc. (SME)
An overview of all of the minerals and metals used to make solar panels.
Cover of USGS MCS 2009; Source: USGS
2009, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Minerals are fundamental to the U.S. economy, contributing to the real gross domestic product (GDP) at several levels—mining, processing, and manufacturing finished products. Trends in other sectors of the domestic economy are often reflected in mineral production and consumption rates. For...
Cover of potash-utah-rupke_final.pdf; Source: Arizonal Geological Survey
2016, Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS)
Strong international demand and high potash prices have prompted a number of companies to conduct or plan potash exploration in the already productive Paradox Basin of southeastern Utah. In response to potash interest in the area, the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration...
Cover of USGS MCS 2016; Source: USGS
2016, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
In 2015, the estimated value of total nonfuel mineral production in the United States decreased by 3% from that of 2014, mainly as a result of decreased metal prices, especially iron ore, copper, and precious metals. The value and quantity of industrial minerals production increased, especially for...
Cover for FGIM-Chap7-Keenan; Source: Arizona Geological Survey
2014, Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS)
Contrary to popular belief, Arizona State Trust Land is not public land. All uses of the land must benefit the Trust, a fact that is considered with the review of each application received for sale, lease, or permit. This includes applications for activities ranging from commercial development to...
Cover of U.S. Geological Survey_2015-1107; Source: U.S. Geological Survey
2015, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
A new mineral rush is underway in the upper Midwest of the United States, especially in Wisconsin and Minnesota, for deposits of high-quality frac sand that the mining industry calls “Northern White” sand or “Ottawa” sand. Frac sand is a specialized type of sand that is added to fracking fluids...
Aggregate and the Environment; Source: AGI
2004, American Geosciences Institute (AGI)
Aggregate resources are vital to our way of life because they are the major raw materials used in construction of roads, rail lines, bridges, hospitals, schools, airports, factories, and homes, but the mining and processing of natural resources such as aggregate commonly raises concerns about...
Cover of FGIM-Chap5-Pinite; Source: Arizona Geological Survey
2014, Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS)
Pinite is a compact, fine-grained, usually amorphous mica as defined by the AGI glossary. It is also a term that has been used to identify metamorphic rock that is the result of the retrograde decomposition of cordierite-altered volcanic rocks, resulting in an impure micaceous rock that may contain...
Cover of PUB119; Source: Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy
1992, Virginia Division of Geology and Mineral Resources (VA DGMR)
Publication includes papers and abstracts of presentations submitted for the 26th Forum on the Geology of Industrial Minerals held on May 15-18, 1990 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Cover of USGS MCS 2006; Source: USGS
2006, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Minerals are fundamental to the U.S. economy, contributing to the real gross domestic product (GDP) at several levels—basic (mining), intermediate (processing), and manufacturing. The estimated growth rate for the real GDP of the United States for 2005 was 3.6%. The nominal GDP was about $12.5...