Minerals are inorganic substances formed by natural processes and have a definite chemical composition and atomic structure. They are extracted either by open cast methods or by under ground mining activities. There are two types of minerals such as the rock forming minerals and the economic minerals. The economic minerals are useful to manufacture several industrial goods. For instance, iron ore mineral, haematite is useful to extract iron and steel from it, similarly, chalcopyrite is one of the ore minerals to extract copper. Some countries exclusively depend on mining activities due to the occurrence of huge amounts of minerals. Where as some other countries like Japan do depend on other countries to meet the domestic demand.
Atomic minerals, bauxite, building stones, copper, clay, coal, diamond, emrald, flourite, gypsum, gold, graphite, halite, heamatite, ilmenite, jasper, limestone, magnetite, mica, monozite, manganese, ochre, phosphorous, quartz, rutile, sulphur, uraninite, zircon, etc are some of the most useful economic minerals which occur in the earth’s crust.
Contribution of minerals in economic development:
The atomic minerals are being used to produce atomic energy, and bauxite is an important ore of aluminium which is useful for building the aeroplanes and several other house hold most useful products. Marble, and granite, are mined and polished to be used as building stones. The ceramic products are manufactured by clay minerals such as kaolinte. Thermal energy is being produced from coal resources. Diamond and gold are precious stones. Due to their limited availability and a huge demand, their cost in the markets is very high. Though the gold deposits do occur in India, it imports substantial quantities from other countries to fill the gap between the demand and the supply. This is one of the reasons for a very high current account deficit in the Indian economy. Graphite is useful to manufacture the crucibles. Limestone is one of the main ingredients or raw materials to produce cement. Glass is manufactured from Quartz.
Thus the mineral resources do contribute for the economic development of the nations of the world by generating employment, enhancing the foreign exchange resources, meeting the domestic demand for metals, non-metals, and other raw materials required for the economic development. For instance, the major contributor to the economic development of the Gulf countries is the petroleum products. Similarly, Japan depends on India for its iron ore requirements.
The countries which explore the economic minerals have been taking several effective measures to protect the environment