Industrial Minerals Review highlights the importance of this mining sector

William Gleason

July 8, 2024

Each year, the July issue of Mining Engineering features the Industrial Minerals Review. Our sincere thanks go out to Jim Norman, Himesh Patel and all of the authors for their herculean effort to pull together the summaries of all the commodities, 38 this year.

This section, available online now, provides a comprehensive look at one of the mining sectors that has traditionally been overlooked.

Mike O’Driscoll, director IMFORMED Industrial Mineral Forums & Research Ltd. provided the intro for the industrial minerals sectors. O’Driscoll, who keeps his finger on the pulse of this interesting, yet sometimes overlooked, sector of the mining industry writes that while the sector has sometimes been called “the third world” of the industry, now might be the time for industrial minerals to gain the rightful recognition of their importance. He says, “2023 might be considered the year that (finally) marked the decade of industrial mineral criticality recognition. We know that industrial minerals are the building blocks of our economy and essential to our everyday life, but owing to several factors (such as supply-chain vulnerability exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, shipping crises, the Russia-Ukraine war, overreliance on China, new technologies), the last few years have seen a growing awareness of industrial minerals’ importance in the mainstream — that is, not just by the wider industry, but crucially, from state and national governments and the public sector.”

Many of the authors in this section point out the importance of a diverse range of commodities, including those needed for national defense.
“Key minerals, such as bauxite, alumina, andalusite, magnesite and graphite, are not just commodities; they are strategic assets that empower nations with the capability to produce armor, weaponry and other critical military infrastructures,” O’Driscoll writes on page 22. “Similarly, the abrasives market, which includes materials used for cutting, grinding and polishing, depends on minerals like fused alumina, silicon carbide, garnet and diamond. Precision manufacturing and maintenance processes for military equipment require the highest-quality abrasives to ensure performance and reliability under the most extreme conditions.”

You can read the 2024 Industrial Minerals Review in the July issue of Mining Engineering, now online.


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