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Chapter 3 Minerals
Section 3 Using Mineral Resources
1. The Uses of Minerals
a. Materials made from minerals are all around us
i. Body and window glass from cars
b. Gemstones: a hard, colorful mineral that has a brilliant or glassy luster
i. Valuable for their look, durability, and rarity
ii. A gemstone that is cut and polished is called a gem
1. Gems are used in jewelry and decoration as well as mechanical
parts and grinding or polishing
c. Metals
i. Some minerals are the source of metals such as aluminum, iron, copper,
or silver.
ii. Metals are usually softer than gemstones
iii.Useful because they can be stretched into wire, flattened into sheets,
and hammered or molded without breaking
iv.Found in metal tools and machinery, the metal filament in a light bulb,
aluminum foil, and the steel beams used to frame office buildings
d. Other Useful Minerals
i. We use materials from minerals in foods, medicines, fertilizers, and
building materials
ii. Talc is used to make talcum powder
iii. Calcite is used in optical instruments such as microscopes
iv. Quartz is used in making glass, electronic equipment and watches
v. Gypsum is used to make wallboard, cement, and stucco
2. Producing Metals From Minerals
a. To produce metal from a mineral, a rock containing the mineral must be
located through prospecting and mined, or removed from the ground. Then
the rock must be processed to extract the metal.
b. Ore: a rock that contains a metal or other useful mineral that can be mined
and sold at a profit
i. Most metals do not occur in a pure form.
1. A metal usually is in combination with other elements
2. Ex: Most copper comes from ores containing chalcopyrite
a. Chalcopyrite contains copper, iron, and sulfur
c. Prospecting
i. A prospector is someone who searches, or prospects, for an ore deposit.
ii. Geologists prospect for ores by observing rocks on the land and by
studying maps of rocks beneath the surface.
d. Mining
i. Miners use the geologist’s map to help them decide how to remove the
ii. There are three types of mines
1. Strip mines
a. Equipment scrapes away soil to explore ore
2. Open Pit Mines
a. Miners use large equipment to dig a tremendous pit and remove
ore deposits
3. Shaft Mines
a. For ore deposits that occur in veins
b. Have a network of tunnels that extend deep into the ground,
following the veins of ore
e. Smelting: a process in which an ore is mixed with other substances and then
melted to separate the useful metal from other elements