Industrial Minerals

Industrial minerals are non-metallic minerals that provide resources for the construction, chemical and manufacturing industries of the province. Industrial minerals are diverse and include resources such as:

  • Construction materials (building stone, clays and shales for brick manufacture).
  • Chemical applications (salt for de-icing and various chemical products).
  • Manufacturing processes (limestone and dolostone for iron and steel; paper production, ceramics, electronics).

Ontario Geological Survey

The role of the Ontario Geological Survey is to identify areas of potential industrial resources in the province by:

  • Outlining areas of either bedrock or surficial material at or near the surface of the Earth that may provide industrial mineral resources.
  • Assessing the potential quality (chemical and physical properties) and quantity of the potential industrial mineral resource.
  • Producing maps, reports and data sets that outline the location, quantity and physical and chemical characteristics of the industrial mineral resource.

Application

Industrial minerals are generally considered to include the non-metallic minerals and are used in a wide variety of applications that are familiar to all of us. However, we may not realize the importance of these industrial minerals to our everyday lives, as shown in the following examples. Manufacturers of plastics, glass, paints, ceramics all rely on industrial minerals such as silica, nepheline syenite, limestone, talc and others for their production. The construction industry relies on shale to produce bricks, gypsum for wallboard and limestone for cement. Chemical manufacturers utilize industrial minerals such as salt and high-purity limestone and dolostone in hundreds of inorganic and organic chemical processes.

Industrial minerals are relatively low-value and bulky materials that generally are used close to where they are produced; however, some raw materials may be transported hundreds of kilometres to manufacturers. Land containing industrial minerals, particularly in southern Ontario, is often under pressure to be used for a variety of competing uses. Without recognition and protection for future resource development, industrial mineral resources in Ontario will diminish.

By identifying industrial mineral resources, the Ontario Geological Survey helps ensure a continued supply of material to supply Ontario’s construction, chemical and manufacturing sectors.