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Mining and Missouri

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Mining generates approximately $2.686 billion towards the state`s economy annually. These dollars go to generating more jobs, building schools, roads and to buying supplies. Galena (lead), fire clay, lime, zinc, coal, sand and gravel, barite, iron oxide, copper, cement, crushed limestone, and silver are common materials mined in Missouri.

Common uses of Missouri minerals are:

Galena (lead) What starts our cars? About 80 percent of mined lead goes into making vehicle batteries. Approximately 1,000 pounds of rock containing galena must be mined a processed for the 30 pounds of lead in each car battery. Lead is also used in our televisions and computer screens because lead stops radiation. Lead is not used in pencils. Pencils are made from another mineral called graphite. Approximately 90 percent of lead produced in the Untied States comes from Missouri, ranking it first in the nation. Also, the largest smelter, a large processing facility that gets lead from galena, is located in Missouri.

Fire Clay A unique property of fire clay is that it resists high temperatures. It is usually made into refractory bricks used in manufacturing where high temperatures are required for making steel. Fire clay is used in the space rocket launch pads. The world`s largest refractory plant is in Missouri and is the number one producer of fire clay in the United States. The world`s largest fire clay refractory is located in Mexico, Missouri.

Lime It is used in cleaning and protecting our environment. Approximately 40 percent of paper is comprised of lime. There are three plants in Missouri, and the largest independent plant in the United States is located at Ste. Genevieve, Missouri. Today, Missouri ranks first in lime production in the nation.

Zinc A unique property of zinc is that it resists corrosion. Why do signs and guard on highways resist rusting? These signs and rails are galvanized (covered) with zinc. There are approximately 18 pounds in each automobile to keep it from rusting. Approximately 30 percent of all zinc mined in the United States comes from Missouri. Missouri ranks number three in the United States.

Barite Barite is a very heavy (dense) material. Barite is primarily used in drilling oil and gas wells. Missouri`s barite is extremely pure and is used principally for medical purposes.

Iron Oxide The main use of iron oxide is in making steel for construction used in cars, planes and bridges. Presently, the only underground iron mine in the United States is in Missouri. Missouri ranks third in iron oxide production. Approximately 5,000 pounds of rock have to be mined and processed to get the approximate 2,200 pounds needed for each car that we drive.

Copper The main use for copper is in water pipes and as wire (to conduct electricity). Approximately 26 pounds of copper are used in an automobile to run its electrical system (run the radio, lights, air conditioner, etc.). To obtain this amount of copper, approximately 2,600 pounds of rock must be mined and processed. Missouri ranks fifth in copper production.

Cement The main use of cement is concrete. It is the commodity that acts as glue to hold the sand and gravel (or stone) together. Concrete is a very basic construction commodity used to build building, roads, driveways, sidewalks and the basements of our homes. Missouri exports approximately 75 percent of its cement to 18 other states, bringing dollars back into Missouri`s economy. Missouri ranks fifth in the Untied States in production.

Silver Do you have a camera? After you take the pictures and take the film to a store, a few day later you get the prints. What happened from the time you left your film at the store until you went back and got your pictures? The film was developed in a silver solution. The main use of silver is photography. Other uses include coins, jewelry and silverware. Missouri ranks sixth in the United States.

Crushed Stone The principle uses of crushed stone are for road construction and making cement. Another use if for agriculture lime as a fertilizer. There are 138 crushed stone quarries in Missouri and Missouri ranks seventh in the United States in production. Approximately 20 percent of Missouri`s crushed stone is sent to other states.

Coal Coal is one of the world`s main energy sources. The principle use of coal is to produce electricity. Eighty-three percent of Missouri`s electricity is produced from generating power plants where coal is the energy source. Coal is responsible for generating fifty-seven percent of the nation`s electricity which heats our homes, runs our refrigerators, lights our light bulbs and so on. Coal was the main energy source used by industry in development of the western civilization.

Sand & Gravel This is the main commodity in the making of concrete --approximately eighty percent of concrete is sand and gravel. The other main commodity is cement. Building materials for roads, highways and fill materials are other uses. Sand and gravel can be found in many state`s major drainage and streams.

Industrial Sand High purity silica sand (primarily SiO2) has an incredibly diverse range of uses, including glassmaking, metal casting, ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy, chemical production, paints and coatings, ceramics and refractories, filtration and water production, oil and gas recovery, and recreation. Silica sand is primarily mined by surface means, however underground and dredging operations are also less extensively used. Considerable processing is frequently employed to reduce impurities after which the product is dried and sized for its intended purpose.

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