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Economic Uses of Minerals & Rocks. Energy Resources, Ores, Gems, and Building Materials. Our Earth Resources. Why you must have someone somewhere who develops the resources you use every day: . Our Earth Resources. Resource =

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Economic Uses of Minerals & Rocks

Energy Resources, Ores, Gems, and Building Materials

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Our Earth Resources

  • Why you must have someone somewhere who develops the resources you use every day:

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Our Earth Resources

  • Resource =

    • Physical or virtual entity with utility, value, and limited availability

  • Ore =

    • Materials that exist in quantities that can be extracted and marketed for a profit

  • Major types of ores

    • Metallic (ore mineral)

    • Nonmetallic (gem, IM)

    • Energy

    • Water

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Energy Resources: Coal, Petroleum, and Natural Gas

  • Fossil fuel energy resources are the foundation of technology-based human societies

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Oil and Natural Gas Deposits

  • Origin:

    • Organic materials trapped in ocean-bottom sediments

    • Decompose within the rocks and form hydrocarbon liquids (oil and gas)

  • Hydrocarbons migrate along and within permeable rock layers

  • Accumulate in an area that is impermeable - "traps

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Reservoir rocks are porous and permeable

Sandstone, limestone

“Unconventional” reservoirs – fractured shales

Oil and Natural Gas Deposits in MI

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Basic Concepts: Ore Minerals

  • Resource

    • Absolute volume of a mineral commodity in existence, independent of economics and technology

  • Reserves or proven reserves

    • Known quantity of a resource available (produced at a profit)

    • Dependant on current economic conditions (including demand) and extant technology

  • Concentration factor

    • Ratio of ore material concentration to average crustal concentration

  • Mode of occurrence

    • A desirable commodity must occur in a mineral form that is readily processed to produce the commodity

    • Associated, unwanted mineral material (gangue) and waste after processing (tailings) must be considered in economic assessment

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Basic Concepts: Ore Minerals

  • Ore deposits require

    • Source for metals (or other elements)

    • Means of concentrating elements into usable quantities

  • Types of Ore Deposits

    • Magmatic (cumulate, lode, pegmatite)

    • Hydrothermal (porphyry, vein, skarn, exhalative, epigenetic)

    • Sedimentary (placer, BIF, laterite, evaporite)

  • Ore Minerals

    • Native elements (Au, Ag, Cu, Pt, diamond, sulfur)

    • Sulfides and sulfosalts (pyrite, sphalerite, chalcopyrite, galena)

    • Oxides and hydroxides (magnetite, chromite, corundum, hematite, rutile)

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Directly crystallize from magma – intrusive or extrusive

Occur as:

Accessory minerals

Disseminated deposits

Lode deposits

Ore in many small veins

California gold deposits


Felsic plutons; late stage crystallization of magma

Rich in incompatible elements: Li, Cs, Be, Sn, & U


Dense minerals settle out in ultramafic magma chamber

Chromite, magnetite, platinum group elements

Magmatic Ore Deposits

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Hydrothermal Ore Deposits

  • Involve fluids

    • Released from crystallizing magma (felsic plutons)

  • Occur as

    • Widely disseminated vein networks

  • Porphyry

    • Alteration of country rock by late, hydrothermal fluids

    • Cu, Mo deposited as sulfide minerals in veins

  • Skarn

    • Fluid alteration of carbonate country rock during contact metamorphism (metasomatism)

    • Fe, Pb, Cu, Mo as sulfide or oxide minerals

  • Epigenetic

    • Ore bodies not physically associated with the magmatic body that produced the hydrothermal fluids

    • Pb-Zn and Au-Sb deposits; Upper Mississippi Valley lead zinc district

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Sedimentary Ore Deposits

  • Concentration of ore minerals due to

    • Weathering (laterite, supergene)

    • Sorting due to gravity (placer)

    • Chemical precipitation (BIF, evaporite)

  • Laterite

    • Tropical weathering to a residuum of Fe2O3 & Al2O3

    • Preserved in the geological record as bauxite

  • Placers

    • Dense, heavy minerals become concentrated in stream bottoms

    • California gold deposits

  • Banded Iron formation

    • Formed in a O2 poor, early earth atmosphere, >2 billion years old

    • Fe as hematite

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In 2000, the estimated value of non-fuel mineral production for Michigan was $1.67 billion

The state rose to sixth in rank among the 50 states in total non-fuel mineral production value

Michigan accounted for more than 4% of the U.S. total

Mineral Resources

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Portland cement for Michigan was $1.67 billion

Cement = binding agent in concrete

Made from limestone, clay minerals and gypsum

Michigan’s leading non-fuel mineral commodity

Construction sand and gravel

Crushed stone

Magnesium compounds



Mineral Resources of Michigan

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Iron ore for Michigan was $1.67 billion

Largely extracted from BIF

Michigan was the nation’s second leading iron ore-producing state in 2000


Native Cu of hydrothermal origin

Hosted in Precambrian basalt lava flows

Last mine, the White Pine Mine, closed in 1997

Mineral Resources of Michigan