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.


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...

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 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 of gootee_redwall_limestone_gts_2014.pdf; Source: Arizonal Geological Survey
2014, Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS)
What makes the Redwall Limestone a unique and important stratigraphic unit in the Grand Canyon? This is one of the questions asked and answered in this guide to the Redwall. Written to assist guides in describing the geology of Grand Canyon, this colorful product should be of use to professional...
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.
Cover of USGS MCS 2012; Source: USGS
2012, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
In 2011, the value of mineral production increased in the United States for the second consecutive year. Production increased modestly for most mineral commodities mined in the United States, and price increases, especially for precious metals, resulted in increases in the value of production....
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 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.
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 of USGS MCS 2004; Source: USGS
2004, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
The average growth rate of real gross domestic product (GDP) from the third quarter of 2001 through the second quarter of 2003 in the United States was about 2.6%; GDP growth rate in the third quarter was about 8%, and it was estimated to be about 5% in the fourth quarter. Many other indicators...
Cover of fgim-chap6-stpeterss_davis.pdf; Source: Arizona Geological Survey
2014, Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS)
The St. Peter Sandstone is typically a well-sorted, friable, ultra-pure, fine- to medium-grained, quartzose sandstone with silica content higher than 99 weight percent in places. The sand grains are well-rounded, highly spherical and characteristically frosted. Their size typically varies from 2...
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...