Understanding the Basics: What are Industrial Minerals?
Many people these days still don’t know what industrial minerals are. These in fact are things which are in fact very common in our daily lives. This in fact is being used in natural or in processed state in building materials, glass, medications, ceramics, paint, medical devices and many more in domestic and industrial products.
Industrial minerals also are defined as minerals which are not sources of metals, gemstones or fuel. The commonly used industrial minerals would be clay, limestones, gravel, sand, bentonite, pumice, talc and a whole lot 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.
An industrial mineral also is versatile with where most of them have at least two or more applications and it spans on multiple markets. An example for this would be talc where it is used in plastics, cosmetics and paper. Though industrial minerals are being defined to as non-metallic, there are some that have metallurgical properties, which in fact is the main source of aluminum ore and this is also used in making cement and abrasives. 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.
The industrial minerals also are valued on its chemical and physical traits, making it very useful for different products and that its price is driven by the demands on the market than by the commodity exchange markets. 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 for industrial minerals likewise influence on how they are being mined. These minerals are extracted mainly through surface mining, which is actually less expensive compared to underground mining. 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. Industrial minerals are usually mined from existing sites or in areas to which are close to infrastructure because its price don’t justify on the cost of building up infrastructure that’s needed for finding a new site.
Before a mining plan is developed, geologists will need to map out mineral distributions of the deposit by implementing evaluations on the geological process which formed them. Once that it’s determined that there’s really a sufficient quantity of minerals which are present, a cost-effective mining will then be able to start and the geologist will study the lithology and other geochemical data for it to control and direct the whole mining procedures.