Industrial Minerals and Rocks

Industrial minerals have countless uses in our modern industrialised society and in many countries form a larger proportion of total mineral production by value, than metallic minerals. ACA Howe geologists can offer a wealth of experience in this specialised field.

The term ‘industrial minerals and rocks’ encompasses a huge variety of products, from asbestos to zeolite. They have a very wide range of uses such as mundane construction materials, pigments, chemicals, refractories, fluxes and alloying reagents and in the manufacture of high-tech electronic components such as transistors, high performance batteries and magnets.

It is questionable whether some of the high-value, high-tech minerals should be included with the lower value end of the spectrum. Lithium minerals and columbite-tantalite and beryl and bertrandite in pegmatites and the heavy and light rare earth minerals in granitic and carbonatitic rocks are of increasing interest. The US Government has declared beryllium (occurs commercially in beryl and bertrandite) a strategic element due to its special characteristics in a wide range of applications: mechanical, anti-magnetic, radiation shielding, nuclear fuel alloys, acoustics, electronics.

Useful and economically important industrial minerals and rocks occur throughout the geological time scale in rocks of all modes of genesis. ACA Howe geologists have worked with many different types of industrial mineral deposits as these examples illustrate:

  • Andalusite – geological, mining and processing evaluation of an existing mine
  • Anti-skid roadstone – field visits and reporting on an exploration and development project
  • Ball clay – review of geology, resources and production
  • Barite – geological and resource investigations of a number of sedimentary exhalative and vein deposits
  • Beryllium (beryl, bertrandite) – assessment of pegatite deposits
  • Borates – desk review of mining properties
  • Building sand, silica sand, clay, perlite, gypsum – field assessment of operating industrial minerals quarries and mines
  • Celestite – review of geology, resources and production
  • Chromite – geological exploration and resource estimation at an operating mine
  • Chrysotile asbestos – reserve estimation and process review of an existing mine
  • Diatomite – review of geology, resources and production
  • Dimension stone – identification, mapping, bulk sampling and test marketing of samples, from a selection of granite, diorite, gabbro and marble prospects
  • Dolomite – field visits and reporting on an exploration and development project
  • Feldspar – review of geology, resources and production
  • Fireclay – review of geology, resources and production
  • Fluorspar – mapping and diamond drilling of a number of deposits of barite and fluorspar in Carboniferous limestones
  • Fuller’s Earth – review of geology, resources and production
  • Garnet – field visits and reporting on an exploration and development project
  • Graphite – technical due diligence, ore reserve and financial review of proposed operation
  • Gypsum – review of geology, resources and production
  • Ilmenite and rutile – resource assessments of alluvial deposits and tailings
  • Kaolin – review of geology, resources and production
  • Limestone – resource investigation for metallurgical reagent and concrete and flue-gas scrubbers
  • Lithium (e.g. spodumene, lepidolite) – assessment of pegmatite deposits
  • Marble (Crinoidal) – field investigation and resource estimation
  • Mica – review of geology, resources and production
  • Muscovite mica – geological evaluation and drilling of deposit
  • Natural mineral fertilisers, NPK, trace elements and soil conditioners – research report UK and elsewhere
  • Perlite – Investigation of Tertiary acid volcanics for lightweight construction aggregate and insulation use
  • Potash – review of geology, resources and production
  • Pumice – geological resource assessment of some existing quarries and prospects
  • Rock aggregate – field visits and reporting on an exploration and development project
  • Sand and gravel – resource estimation of various landward deposits and selection of near-offshore targets
  • Silica – assessment of resource potential and drilling recommendations
  • Silica sand – geological assessment and reserve estimation of an underground mine
  • Talc – desk review of mining property
  • Wollastonite – field visits and reporting on an exploration and development project
  • Zeolite – assessment of mineral property