Section 1: Minerals and Mineral Resources E. Q.: What are minerals and how do people use them?

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Chapter 16 Mining and Mineral Resources

Section 1: Minerals and Mineral Resources

E.Q.: What are minerals and how do people use them?

SEV4. Students will understand and describe availability, allocation and conservation of energy and other resources.

a. Differentiate between renewable and nonrenewable

resources including how different resources are

produced, rates of use, renewal rates, and

limitations of sources. Distinguish between

natural and produced resources.

b. Describe how technology is increasing the efficiency of utilization and accessibility of resources.

c. Describe how energy and other resource utilization

impact the environment and recognize that

individuals as well as larger entities (businesses,

governments, etc.) have impact on energy


d. Describe the relationship of energy consumption and

the living standards of societies.


  • Define the term mineral.

  • Explain the difference between a metal and a nonmetal, and give two examples of each.

  • Describe three processes by which ore minerals form.

Mineral Resources

  • We depend on the use of mineral resources in almost every aspect of our daily life.

  • However, our dependence on minerals has not come without a price.

  • The current challenge is to obtain the minerals that an ever-increasing world population demands at minimal cost to the environment.


Wilkes County

Quartz Rutile

Graves Mountain Graves Mountain

Mineral Consumption per Person (U.S.)


What Is a Mineral?

  • A mineral is a naturally occurring, usually inorganic solid that has a characteristic chemical composition, an orderly internal structure, and a characteristic set of physical properties.

  • Minerals are made up of atoms of a single element, or of compounds. A compound consists of atoms of two or more elements chemically bonded together.

  • The atoms that make up minerals are arranged
    in regular, repeating geometric patterns.

  • The arrangement of the atoms, along with the strength of the chemical bonds between them, determine the physical properties of minerals,

  • Some elements, called native elements, are considered minerals. These include the elements gold, silver, and copper.

  • Most minerals, however, are compounds.

  • The mineral quartz is made up of silica, which consists of one silicon atom and two oxygen

Ore Minerals

  • An ore mineral is a mineral that contains one or more elements of economic value.

  • During the mining process, gangue minerals, minerals with no commercial value, are extracted along with ore minerals.

  • Ore minerals, once separated from the gangue minerals, are refined using various methods to extract the valuable elements they contain.

  • For mining to be profitable, the price of the final product must be greater than the costs of
    extraction and refining.

16_02 ore Bauxite is used to make aluminum

Several items are made from recycled aluminum. Some of the most popular items are cement, beverage cans, dishwashers and other aluminum products. Recycled aluminum is also used in other types of items that many people would not think of. These include: makeup products, chemicals and furniture.

Aluminum is originally produced from bauxite, which is a sedimentary rock with various minerals in it. Bauxite is an important aluminum ore, which is gathered through open pit mining. The water is taken out of the ore, which leaves a white powder called alumina, or aluminum oxide. This material is made into aluminum.

Bauxite is used in cement, beverage cans, dishwashers, siding on houses, makeup, chemicals, and other aluminum products. Recycling aluminum saves approximately 95 percent of the energy it takes to produce more aluminum from bauxite, so now about 30 percent of our aluminum products are made from previously recycled items. It is also an efficient process, which takes as little as 60 days for a can to be collected, melted and made into a new can.

Metallic Minerals

  • Ore minerals are either metallic or nonmetallic.

  • Metals have the following characteristics:

    • can conduct electricity

    • have shiny surfaces

    • are opaque

  • Many valuable metallic minerals are native elements, such as gold, silver, and copper.

  • Other important ore minerals are compounds of metallic minerals with nonmetallic elements.

Nonmetallic Minerals

  • Nonmetals have the following characteristics:

  • Nonmetallic minerals can also be native elements or compounds.

How Do Ore Minerals Form?

  • Economically important ore deposits form in a variety of ways, both on and beneath Earth’s surface.

  • The types of mineral that form depend on the environment in which they form.

Mineral Environments


Hydrothermal Solutions

  • Hot, subsurface waters that contain dissolved minerals are called hydrothermal solutions.

  • Hydrothermal solutions dissolve minerals as they flow through cracks in rocks.

  • New minerals crystallize out of these solutions and then fill fractures to form ore deposits called veins.

  • Many economically valuable metallic ores form in this way.


  • When water in the seas or lakes evaporate, they leave behind deposits of salts called evaporites.

  • Evaporites form in arid regions where rates of evaporation are high.

  • Halite (rock salt) and gypsum are important evaporite minerals.

Halite Halite

Halite Halite

Halite is a non-metallic mineral that has uses that include table salt and road salt. It can also be used in water softeners and as a preservative. It also is used for sodium ore.

Green Gypsum Gypsum

Gypsum uses include: manufacture of wallboard, cement, plaster of Paris, soil conditioning, a hardening retarder in Portland cement. Varieties of gypsum known as "satin spar" and "alabaster" are used for a variety of ornamental purposes; however their low hardness limits their durability.

Mineral Resources and Their Uses

  • Certain metals are of major economic and industrial importance.

  • Some metals can be pounded or pressed into various shapes or stretched very thinly without breaking. Others conduct electricity well.

  • Often two or more metals are used to form alloys, which combine the most desirous properties of the metals used to make them.


  • Nonmetals are among the most widely used minerals in the world.

  • Gypsum, for example, is used to make building materials such as wallboard and concrete.

  • Some nonmetallic minerals include gemstones, prized for their beauty, rarity, or durability.

  • Important gemstones include diamond, ruby, sapphire, emerald, aquamarine, topaz, and tourmaline.

List of minerals

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gem animals. Click the picture to see a list of the minerals

This is a list of minerals for which there are Wikipedia articles. Mineral variety names and mineraloids are to be listed after the valid minerals for each letter. For a complete listing (about 4,000) of all mineral names, see List of minerals (complete).


Sorted by name:


  • Abelsonite

  • Abenakiite-(Ce)

  • Abernathyite

  • Abhurite

  • Abswurmbachite

  • Acanthite

  • Actinolite

  • Acuminite

  • Adamite

  • Adamsite-(Y)

  • Adelite

  • Admontite

  • Aegirine

  • Aenigmatite

  • Aerinite

  • Aerugite

  • Aeschynite-(Ce)

  • Aeschynite-(Nd)

  • Aeschynite-(Y)

  • Afghanite

  • Afwillite

  • Agardite

  • Agrellite

  • Agrinierite

  • Aguilarite

  • Aheylite

  • Ahlfeldite

  • Aikinite

  • Ajoite

  • Akaganéite

  • Akatoreite

  • Akdalaite

  • Åkermanite

  • Aksaite

  • Alabandite

  • Alamosite

  • Alarsite

  • Albite

  • Alforsite

  • Algodonite

  • Aliettite

  • Allabogdanite

  • Allanite

  • Alloclasite

  • Allophane

  • Almandine

  • Alstonite

  • Altaite

  • Aluminite

  • Aluminium

  • Alunite

  • Alunogen

  • Amblygonite

  • Ameghinite

  • Amphibole (mineral group)

  • Analcite

  • Anapaite

  • Anatase

  • Andalusite

  • Andesine

  • Andradite

  • Anglesite

  • Anhydrite

  • Ankerite

  • Annabergite

  • Anorthite

  • Anorthoclase

  • Anthophyllite

  • Antigorite

  • Antimony

  • Antitaenite

  • Antlerite

  • Apatite (mineral group)

  • Apophyllite

  • Aragonite

  • Archerite

  • Arctite

  • Arcubisite

  • Arfvedsonite

  • Argutite

  • Armalcolite

  • Arsenic

  • Arsenopyrite

  • Arthurite

  • Artinite

  • Artroeite

  • Asisite

  • Astrophyllite

  • Atacamite

  • Atheneite

  • Aubertite

  • Augelite

  • Augite

  • Aurichalcite

  • Auricupride

  • Aurostibite

  • Autunite

  • Axinite (mineral group)

  • Azurite

Varieties that are not valid species:

  • Agate (variety of quartz)

  • Alabaster (variety of gypsum)

  • Alexandrite (variety of chrysoberyl)

  • Allingite (synonym of amber)

  • Alum

  • Amazonite (variety of microcline)

  • Amber (fossilized resin)

  • Amethyst (purple variety of quartz)

  • Ammolite (organic; also a gemstone)

  • Amosite (asbestiform grunerite)

  • Anyolite (metamorphic rock - zoisite, ruby, and hornblende)

  • Antozonite (variety of fluorite)

  • Aquamarine (light blue variety of beryl)

  • Argentite (high temperature form of acanthite)

  • Asbestos (fibrous serpentine- or amphibole minerals)

  • Avalite (chromian variety of illite.)

  • Aventurine (variety of quartz)


  • Babingtonite

  • Baddeleyite

  • Baotite

  • Barstowite

  • Baryte (Barite)

  • Barytocalcite

  • Bastnäsite (mineral group)

  • Bazzite

  • Benitoite

  • Bensonite

  • Bentorite

  • Berryite

  • Berthierite

  • Bertrandite

  • Beryl

  • Beryllonite

  • Biotite

  • Birnessite

  • Bismite

  • Bismuth

  • Bismuthinite

  • Bixbyite

  • Blödite

  • Blossite

  • Boehmite

  • Boracite

  • Borax

  • Bornite

  • Botryogen

  • Boulangerite

  • Bournonite

  • Brammallite

  • Brassite

  • Braunite

  • Brazilianite

  • Breithauptite

  • Brewsterite

  • Brianite

  • Briartite

  • Brochantite

  • Brookite

  • Bromargyrite

  • Bromellite

  • Bronzite

  • Brucite

  • Brushite

  • Buddingtonite

  • Buergerite

  • Bukovskyite

  • Bytownite

Varieties that are not valid species:

  • Bauxite (aluminium ore)

  • Beckerite (natural resin)

  • Bixbite (red gem variety of beryl)

[edit] C

  • Cabriite

  • Cadmium

  • Cafetite

  • Calaverite

  • Calcite

  • Calderite

  • Caledonite

  • Cancrinite

  • Canfieldite

  • Carnallite

  • Carnotite

  • Carobbiite

  • Carrollite

  • Cassiterite

  • Cavansite

  • Celadonite

  • Celestine

  • Celsian

  • Cementite

  • Cerite

  • Cerussite

  • Cesbronite

  • Ceylonite

  • Chabazite

  • Chalcanthite

  • Chalcocite

  • Chalcopyrite

  • Challacolloite

  • Chaoite

  • Chapmanite

  • Charoite

  • Childrenite

  • Chlorargyrite

  • Chlorastrolite

  • Chlorite (mineral group)

  • Chloritoid

  • Chondrodite

  • Chromite

  • Chromium

  • Chrysoberyl

  • Chrysocolla

  • Cinnabar

  • Clarkeite

  • Clinochrysotile

  • Clinoclase

  • Clinohedrite

  • Clinohumite

  • Clinoptilolite

  • Clinozoisite

  • Clintonite

  • Cobaltite

  • Coesite

  • Coffinite

  • Colemanite

  • Coloradoite

  • Columbite (mineral group)

  • Combeite

  • Connellite

  • Cooperite

  • Copiapite

  • Copper

  • Corderoite

  • Cordierite

  • Corundum

  • Covellite

  • Creedite

  • Cristobalite

  • Crocoite

  • Cronstedtite

  • Crookesite

  • Crossite

  • Cryolite

  • Cumberlandite

  • Cummingtonite

  • Cuprite

  • Cyanotrichite

  • Cylindrite

Native copper

Varieties that are not valid species:

  • Carnelian (variety of quartz)

  • Chalcedony (cryptocrystalline variety of quartz)

  • Chrysolite (gemmy yellow-green forsterite)

  • Chrysoprase (green nickel bearing chalcedony)

  • Chrysotile (group name - asbestiform serpentine)

  • Citrine (yellow variety of quartz)

  • Cleveite

  • Coltan (short for minerals of the columbite group)

  • Crocidolite (asbestiform riebeckite)

  • Cymophane (variety of chrysoberyl)

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