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Industrial Minerals

Any rock, mineral, or sediment of economic value – exclusive of metal ores, fossil fuels, and gemstones – is designated as an industrial or a nonmetallic rock/mineral. The two terms are synonymous. Although gemstones are usually excluded, they are listed here for convenience.

Human consumption of the industrial rocks and minerals greatly exceeds our consumption of metals – at a rate of about 16:1 by weight. The average consumer does not recognize the presence of an industrial mineral in the commodities he/she uses. Some of the industrial minerals are mined in large volumes in Arkansas and their value makes a significant contribution to the state's economy.

Industrial mineral resources include many common materials, such as rock (limestone, dolostone, and sandstone), gravel, sand, several varieties of clay, and uncommon materials, such as bromine brine, diamond, gypsum, novaculite, syenite, and tripoli. All of these resources are currently being mined in Arkansas.

Although accurate production data are not readily available, bromine brine, crushed stone (sandstone, limestone, dolostone, and syenite), sand, and gravel have been the most valuable industrial materials mined in recent years.

Unlike many metals, which can be recycled profitably, few of the industrial minerals can be reclaimed and reused. Glass, which is composed of silica sand, is an exception. Some materials made of industrial minerals can be salvaged and used for other purposes. Concrete is a widely used material in which sand, gravel, limestone or chalk, marl, and gypsum are the main ingredients. Demolished concrete structures are commonly reused as fill for other construction projects. Some industrial diamond is recycled from drill bits and cutting tools. There is a continuous search for new deposits of industrial rocks and minerals to replace deposits being depleted.

A problem faced by the producers of some industrial minerals is that large tonnages are required by users, coupled with low market prices per unit. Low prices result in transportation costs being a critical factor. In addition, expansion of suburbs around major markets and increasing environmental constraints have forced many operators to move to more distant sites, thereby increasing transportation costs and prices paid by consumers.

The value of non-fuel minerals produced in Arkansas in 2006, according to the US Geological Survey, was $913 million. Arkansas was 26th in US production of industrial minerals, which amounted to 1.34 % of the US total. The following minerals are ranked by value for 2006: bromine, crushed stone, Portland cement, construction sand and gravel, and lime.

To download the ADEQ Access 2000 database of all permitted operations in Arkansas click here.


PDF Arkansas Mineral Resources Map
PDF USGS Mineral Production Map
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Asphalt

Asphalt is a brown to black, high viscosity liquid or bitumen that consists almost entirely of carbon and hydrogen and has a low melting temperature.
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Barite

Production of barite from Arkansas was used exclusively as a weighting agent in drilling muds in the oil and gas industry, due to its relatively high specific gravity (4.5).
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Bauxite

The principal ore of aluminum is bauxite, a complex mixture of a number of aluminum hydroxides and hydrous aluminum oxides.
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Bromine (Brine)

Elemental bromine (Br) is a highly corrosive, reddish-brown, volatile liquid which, along with fluorine, chlorine, and iodine, forms a family of elements known as the halogens.
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Asphalt

Asphalt is a brown to black, high viscosity liquid or bitumen that consists almost entirely of carbon and hydrogen and has a low melting temperature.
Learn more »

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Barite

Production of barite from Arkansas was used exclusively as a weighting agent in drilling muds in the oil and gas industry, due to its relatively high specific gravity (4.5).
Learn more »


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Bauxite

The principal ore of aluminum is bauxite, a complex mixture of a number of aluminum hydroxides and hydrous aluminum oxides.
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Bromine (Brine)

Elemental bromine (Br) is a highly corrosive, reddish-brown, volatile liquid which, along with fluorine, chlorine, and iodine, forms a family of elements known as the halogens.
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Chalk

In Arkansas, chalk is the major constituent of two extensive Cretaceous formations: the Annona Chalk and the Saratoga Chalk.
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Clay

Clay is a major industrial mineral resource in Arkansas. Combined industry output in 2005 amounted to over 1.2 million tons of raw clay, valued at over $1.9 million.
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Diamond (Industrial)

Diamond is the hardest known substance, being composed of very densely packed carbon (C). Learn more »

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Dolostone

See Limestone
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Chalk

In Arkansas, chalk is the major constituent of two extensive Cretaceous formations: the Annona Chalk and the Saratoga Chalk.
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Clay

Clay is a major industrial mineral resource in Arkansas. Combined industry output in 2005 amounted to over 1.2 million tons of raw clay, valued at over $1.9 million.
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Diamond (Industrial)

Diamond is the hardest known substance, being composed of very densely packed carbon (C).
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Dolostone

See Limestone
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Gemstone

As defined here, a gem is any jewel, whether stone or pearl, having value and beauty that are intrinsic.
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Greensand

Greensand is the name commonly applied to a sandy rock or sediment containing a high percentage of the mineral glauconite.
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Gypsum

Gypsum deposits are mined by open-pit methods in southwest Arkansas from the DeQueen Limestone (Early Cretaceous) of the Trinity Group.
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Limestone

The principal mineral of limestone is calcite (CaCO3), a form of calcium carbonate.
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Gemstone

As defined here, a gem is any jewel, whether stone or pearl, having value and beauty that are intrinsic.
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Greensand

Greensand is the name commonly applied to a sandy rock or sediment containing a high percentage of the mineral glauconite.
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Gypsum

Gypsum deposits are mined by open-pit methods in southwest Arkansas from the DeQueen Limestone (Early Cretaceous) of the Trinity Group.
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Limestone

The principal mineral of limestone is calcite (CaCO3), a form of calcium carbonate.
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Marble

Commercial marbles mined in Arkansas are all unmetamorphosed limestones or dolostones that take a high polish.
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Marl

Marl is a sediment or sedimentary rock that is a mixture of clay and calcite (CaCO3).
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Nepheline Syenite

Nepheline syenite is a medium to coarse-grained, light- to medium-gray, igneous rock that is composed predominantly of a silicate mineral called orthoclase (KAlSi3O8) and has a granite-like appearance.
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Novaculite (Silica Stone)

Novaculite is a sedimentary rock composed mostly of microcrystalline (1-5 micron) quartz and is a crystallized variety of chert.
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Marble

Commercial marbles mined in Arkansas are all unmetamorphosed limestones or dolostones that take a high polish.
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Marl

Marl is a sediment or sedimentary rock that is a mixture of clay and calcite (CaCO3).
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Nepheline Syenite

Nepheline syenite is a medium to coarse-grained, light- to medium-gray, igneous rock that is composed predominantly of a silicate mineral called orthoclase (KAlSi3O8) and has a granite-like appearance.
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Novaculite (Silica Stone)

Novaculite is a sedimentary rock composed mostly of microcrystalline (1-5 micron) quartz and is a crystallized variety of chert.
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