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Why do we need minerals?

Minerals are essential raw materials in our daily lives, and are vital for economic, social and technological development. For example, in the following:

Agriculture: Phosphate rock, potash and lime are used in agricultural fertilisers and other mineral products are used to improve soil. The water you drink uses minerals to make it clean.

Construction: About 60 tonnes of aggregate are used to build an average house in the UK. If we include the associated infrastructure, this can be as high as 400 tonnes.

Minerals are used in building houses, schools, libraries, hospitals, offices and shops. Buildings use a wide range of minerals:

  • iron (as steel) in the framework of large building,
  • clay in bricks and roofing tiles,
  • slate for roofing tiles,
  • limestone, clay, shale and gypsum in cement,
  • gypsum in plaster,
  • silica sand in window glass,
  • sand and gravel and crushed rock as aggregates for fill and in concrete,
  • copper for plumbing and wiring,
  • clays for bathroom fixtures and fittings and tiles,
  • paint may include pigments, extenders and fillers from mineral sources.