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 2015; Source: USGS
2015, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
In 2014, the estimated value of total nonfuel mineral production increased in the United States. The quantity of production increased for most mineral commodities mined in the United States. Prices increased for the majority of mineral commodities, but notable exceptions were the declines in prices...
Cover of WSGS RI72; Image credit: Wyoming State Geological Survey
2016, Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS)
Natural zeolites comprise a group of industrial minerals with a diverse range of applications. The unique characteristics of zeolites make them useful in a long list of applications, including agriculture, hazardous waste containment, odor control, water and air purification, cement manufacturing,...
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 Wyoming Trona; Source: Wyoming State Geological Survey
2014, Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS)
Trona is a sodium carbonate compound, which is mined and processed into soda ash, an economically important commodity worldwide. The dominant use for soda ash is in manufacturing glass, accounting for more than half of global demand. Baking soda, found in a box in countless refrigerators, is a...
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 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...
Cover for GeoNote 14 ; Source: Idaho Geological Survey
1991, Idaho Geological Survey (IGS)
Today, industrial minerals promise markets and wealth far greater than that for the proverbial bonanza of gold. Our accustomed progress and prosperity have created constant demands for these commodities, making them the truly indespensible building blocks of modern civilization.
Cover of USGS MCS 2013; Source: USGS
2013, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
In 2012, the estimated value of mineral production increased in the United States for the third consecutive year. Production and prices increased for most industrial mineral commodities mined in the United States, but production and prices for nearly all metals declined. Minerals remained...
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...
Cover for GeoNote 30 ; Source: Idaho Geological Survey
1994, Idaho Geological Survey (IGS)
Idaho's phosphate industry has been the largest contributor to the state's nonfuel mineral production for several years. In 1990, for example, fertilizer and elemental phosphorous production in the state was worth over $585 million for 2 1/2 times the combined output from all minerals.