Understanding the Basics: What are Industrial Minerals?
A lot of people don’t know what industrial minerals. These are actually things that’s common in our daily lives. It is being used in processed or in natural state in order to make building materials, ceramics, paint, glass, medications, medical devices and a whole lot more in both domestic and industrial products.
An industrial mineral is defined generally as minerals which are not sources of gemstones or fuel or metals. Some of the most commonly used industrial minerals are limestones, clay, sand, bentonite, gravel, talc, pumice and so many more. Some of the common industrial minerals are in fact being used in construction like sand, gravel and cement, which in fact are known to as aggregates.
Industrial minerals also are very versatile to where most have at least about two or more applications and also span on multiple markets. An example for this would be talc where it is used in plastics, cosmetics and paper. Though industrial minerals are usually defined to as non-metallic, some of them have metallurgical properties, which actually is the primary source of aluminum ore and it is also used to make abrasives and cement. There are also the barite and bentonite, which are non-fuel industrial minerals which has a crucial application with oil and gas extractions for components in drilling fluids.
Industrial minerals are likewise valued for their chemical and physical properties, which in fact makes them useful for different products and that its price is driven on the demands in the market than by commodities exchange market. Some of the common things that greatly contributes on the demand and growth of such materials would be in agriculture, manufacturing and on recovering construction and housing markets.
The market demands on industrial minerals also influences how they are actually being mined. Minerals like these are usually extracted mainly through surface mining, which would be less expensive than the underground mining option. Though a certain location is also considered to have good amounts of mineral deposits, the costs on drilling, extractions and transporting raw materials needs to be considered against their current market demands on the market. The industrial minerals are usually being mined from existing sites or perhaps at areas which are close already to infrastructure because the price doesn’t justify the cost in building infrastructure that’s crucial for finding a new site.
Before any mining plan is developed, geologists will need to map out mineral distribution of the deposit by evaluating its geological process on what formed them. After it has been determined that there’s a sufficient quantity of minerals that are present and a cost-effective mining could start on it, the geologist will then study the lithology and also other geochemical data in order to control and direct the entire mining process.