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Industrial minerals are geological materials which are mined for their commercial value, which are not fuel (fuel minerals or mineral fuels) and are not sources of metals (metallic minerals). They are used in their natural state or after beneficiation either as raw materials or as additives in a wide range of applications.
Examples and applications
Typical examples of industrial rocks and minerals are limestone, clays, sand, gravel, diatomite, kaolin, bentonite, silica, barite, gypsum, and talc. Some examples of applications for industrial minerals are construction, ceramics, paints, electronics, filtration, plastics, glass, detergents and paper.
In some cases, even organic materials (peat) and industrial products or by-products (cement, slag, silica fume) are categorized under industrial minerals, as well as metallic compounds mainly utilized in non-metallic form (as an example most of the titanium is utilized as an oxide TiO2 rather than Ti metal).
In some cases, organic substances (such as peat) are categorized as industrial minerals. This case, however, violates the technical definition of a "mineral." A substance must be a mineral before it may be categorized as an industrial mineral. Peat is a geologic substance mined for its economic value but that does not mandate that it be referred to as a mineral or as an industrial mineral.
The evaluation of raw materials to determine their suitability for use as industrial minerals requires technical test-work, mineral processing trials and end-product evaluation; free to download evaluation manuals are available for the following industrial minerals: limestone, flake graphite, diatomite, kaolin, bentonite and construction materials. These are available from the British Geological Survey external link 'Industrial Minerals in BGS' with regular industry news and reports published in Industrial Minerals magazine.
List of industrial minerals
- Asphalt, Natural
- Ball clays
- Bentonite / Diatomite / Fuller's earth
- Dimension stone
- Feldspar and Nepheline - Syenite
- Gem minerals
- Kyanite / Sillimanite / Andalusite
- Limestone / Dolomite
- Olivine
- Potash –Potassium minerals
- Silica sand / Tripoli