November 1, 2013
Production of U.S. industrial minerals is falling behind the demand for them.
By Bill Langer
Industrial minerals are found in nearly every man-made material, and their use tends to grow with our population and economy. Without industrial minerals, there would be no cities, suburbs, towns, villages, or infrastructure to connect them. We could not produce oil or gas, or produce or distribute electricity. We could not grow or harvest abundant crops, raise livestock, or produce poultry and eggs. And we could not manufacture the myriad of other consumer products to which we have become accustomed. The accompanying figure shows some of the industrial minerals that go into various manufacturing sectors.
While the demand for U.S. industrial minerals has increased over the years, production has not kept pace with demand. U.S. manufacturers have become ever more dependent on foreign sources for those minerals. The accompanying figure shows, by various colors, our relative dependence on imports of industrial minerals.
Without industrial minerals, society as we know it would cease to exist. Send me an email if you want a copy of this figure. And pass it on.
Bill Langer is a consulting research geologist who spent 41 years with the U.S. Geological Survey before starting his own business.
He can be reached at Bill_Langer@hotmail.com