What are Industrial Minerals and How it is Obtained?
Many people these days still don’t know what industrial minerals are. These are actually things that’s 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.
Another fact about industrial minerals is that they are really versatile where most of them have at least about two or more applications and 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 bentonite as well as barite which are actually non-fuel industrial minerals and plays a crucial application for oil and gas extractions as the 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. The common reasons behind the market growth of such minerals is due to agriculture, manufacturing, housing markets and recovering construction.
Market demands on industrial minerals likewise influences with how they are mined. These minerals are extracted mainly through surface mining, which is actually less expensive compared to underground mining. Even when there’s already a particular location that is seen to have good amounts of mineral deposits, the costs on its drilling, extractions as well as for its transportation should be considered against current market demands. 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 that it has been determined that there really is a sufficient amount of minerals present on the area, a cost-effective mining could then be started and the geologist then studies the lithology and other geochemical data so it could control and direct the overall mining process.