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 USGS MCS 2002; Source: USGS
2002, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
In March 2001, shrinking global markets, reduced consumer spending, and declines in domestic manufacturing and industrial output ended the longest economic expansion in U.S. history and pushed the Nation’s economy into its first recession in more than a decade (Berry and Pearlstein, 2001; U.S....
Cover of USGS MCS 2003; Source: USGS
2003, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Following the recession of 2001, restrained consumer spending, declines in domestic manufacturing and industrial output, and increased unemployment led to an expansion of only about 2% in the domestic economy during 2002. Significant production declines in the U.S. metals industry were registered...
Cover of USGS MCS 2007; Source: USGS
2007, 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. The estimated growth rate for the real GDP of the United States for 2006 was 3.2%; the nominal GDP was about $13.2 trillion...
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 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 of c-118; Source: Utah Geological Survey
2014, Utah Geological Survey (UGS)
During 2013, Utah extractive resource industries produced energy and mineral commodities with an estimated gross value of $9.5 billion. On an inflation-adjusted basis, this is a $1 billion (12%) increase from 2012, and $1.2 billion (11%) less than the 2008 record high of $10.7 billion. Total energy...
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 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 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,...