Mineral resources and their classification

Mineral resources are the totality of allMinerals found in the bowels of the planet, accessible and suitable for industrial use. This category includes not only the minerals of the land, but also those found at the bottom of the oceans.

Mineral resources are a broad concept that hasseveral aspects. From the point of view of geology, it is a set of deposits in which chemical elements and minerals composed of them are concentrated in sharply increased doses in comparison with their average (clark) content in the earth's crust, which ensures the expediency of their industrial development. If we consider the economic aspect, mineral resources are the raw material base for the development of industry (fuel and energy complex, construction, metallurgy, chemical industry), as well as a possible object of international cooperation.

Scientists have developed a classification of mineral resources by areas of use. From this point of view, the following groups stand out:

1. Fuel and energy resources. First of all, it is oil and natural gas, as well as coal, oil shale. Uranium ores became a useful mineral of industrial importance only at the end of the 20th century. Now they also belong to this category. Historically, this group includes peat, although at present it has no industrial significance. These minerals are of sedimentary origin. As a rule, they are confined to the covers of ancient platforms, their marginal and internal deflections.

2. Ores:

- Ferrous metals. First of all, it is iron, and also vanadium, manganese and chrome;

- non-ferrous and alloying metals. This is aluminum ore (bauxite, alunite, nepheline-apatite, etc.), copper ore, nickel, lead-zinc, tungsten, molybdenum, etc .;

- precious metals (gold-bearing, silver, platinum).

Ores or accompany the foundations and shields of the ancientsplatforms, or are confined to folded zones, where often form metallogenic belts, due to their origin deep tectonic faults.

3. Precious and semiprecious minerals (diamond, corundum and its varieties, spinel, emerald, jasper, varieties of quartz and many others).

4. Mineral and chemical mineral resources. This group includes stone, potassium and magnesia salts, phosphorites and apatites, sulfur and its compounds, barite, fluorite, boron ores and other minerals that are raw materials for the chemical industry.

5. Industrial raw materials of non-metallic origin (quartz, graphite, asbestos, mica, talc, etc.).

6. Building materials (marble, clay, slate shale, granite, gabbro-diabase, limestone, glass and cement raw materials, etc.).

7. Hydromineral resources (groundwater both fresh and mineralized, including thermal waters and used in balneology).

Deposits of nonmetallic minerals are found both on platforms and in folded zones.

This classification is very conventional, becauseoften different industries can use the same raw materials. For example, apatites or limestones can be used both in metallurgy and in the chemical industry, and limestone - also in construction.

Mineral resources began to be usedman at the dawn of civilization, which was reflected in the name of some eras (example - stone or bronze age). At present, as Academician AE Fersman put it, at the feet of mankind the entire Mendeleyev system. In modern industry, more than 200 varieties of minerals are involved. Almost all of them belong to the category of non-renewable, therefore one of the most important areas of modern ecology is the development of a set of measures to prevent a resource crisis.

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