Industrial minerals are non-fuel and non-metal materials that are used in industry based on their physical properties (e.g., fibrosity, insulation capacity, density, hardness) and/or chemical properties. Industrial resources include materials such as limestone, dolostone, graphite, clay, shale, diatomite, sand, silica, gravel, bentonite, kaolin, barite, gypsum, salts, talc, and others. They provide resources for the construction industry: building stone, clays, and shales for brick manufacture; the chemical industry: salt for de-icing and various chemical products; and the manufacturing industry: limestone and dolostone for iron and steel; electronics, paper production, ceramics, plastics, glass. They are used in many household products and industrial processes.
Aggregates are a category of industrial minerals widely used in construction; they consist of coarse- to medium-grained particulate material including sand, gravel, and crushed stone. Aggregates are a component of composite materials such as concrete and asphalt to which they add strength. Aggregates are also widely used in drainage applications such as French drains, septic drain fields, retaining wall drains, and roadside edge drains, due to their relatively high hydraulic conductivity compared to most soils. Aggregates are also used as base material under foundations, roads, and railroads. Aggregates are the most mined materials in the world.
Aggregates and other industrial minerals are used in our everyday life and ensuring their continued supply is essential for the construction, chemical and manufacturing sectors.