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Almost all Earth materials are used by humans for something. We require metals for making machines, sands and gravels for making roads and buildings, sand for making computer chips, limestone and gypsum for making concrete, clays for making ceramics, gold, silver, copper and aluminum for making electric circuits, and diamonds and corundum (sapphire, ruby, emerald) for abrasives and jewelry.
In this discussion, we hope to answer the following questions:
What constitutes a mineral resource and an ore?
What determines whether or not a mineral sources is economical to exploit?
By what processes do ores form?
How are mineral resources found and exploited?
What happens when a mineral resource become scarce as a result of human consumption?
What are the adverse effects of exploiting mineral resource. Mineral resources can be divided into two major categories - Metallic and Nonmetallic. Metallic resources are things like Gold, Silver, Tin, Copper, Lead, Zinc, Iron, Nickel, Chromium, and Aluminum. Nonmetallic resources are things like sand, gravel, gypsum, halite, Uranium, dimension stone.
A mineral resource is a volume of rock enriched in one or more useful materials. In this sense a mineral refers to a useful material, a definition that is different from the way we defined a mineral back in Chapter 5. Here the word mineral can be any substance that comes from the Earth.