Every American uses around 24 tons of industrial minerals year after year, says the Industrial Minerals Association of North America. Industrial minerals are mainly defined as minerals which do not generate or are not processed into gems, fuel or metals. So what exactly are they? Think limestone, sand and gravel, diatomite, bentonite, gypsum and pumice. The list is long but you should get the idea. Many industrial minerals are used in construction, like crushed stone and cement, and some of them are known as aggregates.
Benchmark Mineral Intelligence are highly versatile, with most having a minimum of two applications and a constant demand across markets.A common example is talc, which is often used in making plastics, paper and beauty products. To make abrasives, ceramics and glass, manufacturers also use silica sand. Although industrial minerals are generally non-metallic, there are some that possess metallurgical properties, like bauxite, the biggest source of aluminum ore.
Two non-fuel industrial minerals, barite and bentonite, are used as drilling fluid components in oil and gas extraction projects. Fracking operations are also dependent on kaolin and bauxite as well.
Industrial minerals are highly valued for both their physical and chemical characteristics, making them extremely useful in manufacturing a wide variety of products. Their price is generally unaffected by commodities exchange markets, being largely dictated by market demand instead. Watch this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8a7p1NFn64s about minerals.
Aside from manufacturing, many other industries are behind the market growth for these minerals, including agriculture and housing and construction. Another factor that impacts market demand for industrial minerals is the mining process they undergo. The main method used to extract minerals is surface mining, a less expensive option to underground mining.
Yet even with a location deemed economically viable for its mineral deposit, the combined cost of drilling, extraction and raw material transportation are all factors to consider against the present market demand for the specific mineral. Industrial minerals are often mined from existing areas within close proximity to infrastructure because their price often doesn’t justify constructing the infrastructure required for exploration.
Prior to the development of a mining plan, geologists have to map out the deposit’s mineral distribution by analyzing the geological processes, also called mineralizing events, that led to their formation. As soon as the presence of an amount of minerals on site has been confirmed and cost-effective mining can commence, geologists examine the lithology and other geochemical data needed to steer the mining operation, see page here!