Industrial Minerals

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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.

Basics

Crushed gravel-sized stone, an example of an industrial mineral. Image Credit:  Bill Bradley, http://www.builderbill-diy-help.com, Licensed under Creative Commons, CC-BY-SA-3.0, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/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
(2017-04-10)
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
(2016-11-03)
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)
(2016-09-01)
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

CI_Factsheet_2017_3_Deicing_170712_thumb

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...

GOLI Online Courses

GOLI Course: Tracking the Supply of Critical Materials; Image courtesy of Nedal Nassar.
Course Type: GOLI Online Course

No country in the world produces all of the mineral resources necessary for modern society. International trade plays a critical role in providing these raw materials, forming a global network of production, export, import, and use. This network must continuously adapt to national and...

Research Database Publications

Cover of USGS MCS 2017; Image credit: U.S. Geological Survey
2017, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Each chapter of the 2017 edition of the USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries includes information on events, trends, and issues for each mineral commodity as well as discussions and tabular presentations on domestic industry structure, Government programs, tariffs, 5-year salient statistics, and world...
Cover image of position statement; Image credit: SME
2013, Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration Inc. (SME)
World industrialization, increased urbanization, and population growth are driving a sustained demand for minerals, metals and coal. Energy demand is expected to increase significantly in the coming decades – placing even more emphasis on supply, security and environmental impact issues.
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...
Cover of USGS MCS 2018; Image credit: U.S. Geological Survey
2018, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Each chapter of the 2018 edition of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Mineral Commodity Summaries (MCS) includes information on events, trends, and issues for each mineral commodity as well as discussions and tabular presentations on domestic industry structure, Government programs, tariffs, 5-year...
Cover of Wyoming Bentonite; Source: Wyoming Geological Survey
2014, Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS)
Bentonite is a fine clay material mined from the earth, formed by the decomposition of volcanic ash deposited millions of years ago in an ancient inland seaway. It is widely used as a drilling mud for oil and natural gas wells; other uses include cat litter, cosmetics, a binding agent in animal...
Cover of USGS MCS 2010; Source: USGS
2010, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
The widespread effects of the struggling domestic economy were evident in the decreased performance of the U.S. minerals sector in 2009. Although minerals remained fundamental to the U.S. economy, contributing to the real gross domestic product (GDP) at several levels, including mining, processing...
Mining Operation to Produce Road Aggregate, Flowell, Utah. Image Credit:Lee Siebert, Smithsonian Institution.
2004, American Geosciences Institute (AGI)
Under pressure to restrict aggregate operations, county leaders in Toelle, Utah developed an ordinance to protect the stone, gravel, and sand industry as well as the environment.
Cover of USGS MCS 2014; Source: USGS
2014, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
In 2013, the estimated value of mineral production decreased in the United States after 3 consecutive years of increases. Production increased for most industrial mineral commodities mined in the United States, and overall, prices remained stable. Production of most metals was relatively stable...
Cover for GeoNote 08 ; Source: Idaho Geological Survey
1986, Idaho Geological Survey (IGS)
Located near Pocatello and Soda Springs in southeastern Idaho are the mines and plants of the state's phosphate industry. Most people are surprised to find out how important the brown-to-black, nondescript appearing phosphate ore is to their lives and well-being.
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
2004, American Geosciences Institute (AGI)
In Garfield County, an area of multiple land uses, geologic maps show the location and quality of the sand and gravel resources. Planners, citizens, and resource developers use this information to locate and evaluate potential deposits and make informed land-use choices.