Economic Minerals and Natural Attractions

Economic Minerals

Many minerals are mined because they have economic value. Metals like copper, lead, and iron is removed from mineral ores such as bornite, galena, and pyrite. Other metals collected from ores are molybdenum (used in metal alloys) and antimony (used in flame retardants and metal alloys). These ores can be refined to isolate the desired economic elements.

Metallic element ores:

Copper

Azurite

Bornite

Chrysocolla

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Malachite

Native Element Copper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lead

Lead does not have a native element form, like copper. Instead, lead is found in the mineral, Galena. Minerals that contain economic elements are called ores.

Galena

Wulfenite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iron

Iron is the fourth most common element in the Earth’s crust. By mass, it is the most common element on Earth. Iron is usually found as an ore in minerals such as hematite and magnetite.

Hematite

Magnetite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zinc

Sphalerite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Element Ores:

  • Antimony

Stibnite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Strontium

Celestine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Magnesium

Dolomite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Several other minerals are used for a variety of economic products used in the daily lives of people. Minerals like rutile, orpiment, and diopside are utilized as pigments, quartz is melted and formed into glasses, while beryls, like the aquamarine variety, are used as gemstones in jewelry. Products used in our daily lives are built using minerals. Rutile, orpiment, and diopside make pigments, quartz is melted and formed into glasses, and beryls are used as gemstones in jewelry.

Things that shine

Silver uses: coins, jewelry, tableware, mirrors

Quartz uses: glass, mirrors, abrasives, jewelry

Beryl

var. Aquamarine

uses: jewelry

 

Pigments

Rutile uses: jewelry, white pigment
Orpiment uses: yellow pigment
Dioptase

use: blue-green pigment

 

Health, Beauty, and Household

Fluorite fluoride source for toothpaste
Muscovite uses: cosmetics, plastics, paint
Zeolites uses: pet litter, water softening/purification