News Release, Kansas Geological Survey, Feb. 2, 1999
A new book from the Kansas Geological Survey, based at the University of Kansas, describes the industrial minerals of the state--non-fuel minerals such as clay, cement, salt, and others. The book describes how these minerals were formed, how they are mined, and how they are used.
The book's author is Survey geologist David Grisafe.
"Minerals and their products, such as cement, sand and gravel, gypsum, and building stone, are used throughout our lives," said Grisafe. "It's estimated that the average American uses nearly a million pounds of these commodities over a lifetime."
In 1997, the value of non-fuel minerals produced in the state totaled about $550 million.
According to Grisafe, the most common non-fuel mineral produced in the state is sand and gravel, which is mined in nearly every Kansas county and is used for covering roads and as an ingredient in concrete. In eastern Kansas, sand and gravel is dredged from rivers, dredged from lakes created in the floodplain of rivers, or quarried from surface mines. In western Kansas, sand and gravel is generally mined from dry pits.
In terms of the value, cement is the most important non-fuel mineral produced in the state. Cement is generally produced from ground-up limestone, with other minerals added. That cement is added to crushed stone and sand, along with water, to produce concrete.
In 1997, Kansas factories produced $124 million worth of cement.
After cement, the most valuable mineral produced in the state is salt, taken from underground mines in central Kansas. Salt production in 1997 was valued at $121 million. Other important non-fuel minerals include helium (refined from natural gas), crushed stone, building stone, and clays, used in making brick, tile, sewer pipe, and other items.
The production and use of these minerals has changed dramatically over the years, Grisafe points out. Today the industry is much more heavily regulated than in the past, and surface-mining operations, such as limestone quarries, are required to reclaim the land they have mined, once mining is complete.
"In many ways, the United States has led the world in dealing with health, safety, aesthetic, and environmental issues related to its mining," said Grisafe.
Copies of the book Primer of Industrial Minerals for Kansas are available from the Kansas Geological Survey, 1930 Constant Ave., Lawrence, KS 66047 (or phone 785-864-3965). Individual copies are $7.50 plus $2.00 for shipping and handling. Kansas residents should add 6.9% sales tax.