Mineral resources can be found in almost every aspect of our lives. Granite is widely used as building stone is one of the hardest rocks found in nature. It is made up of three minerals - quartz, feldspar and mica. Gypsum is used in plaster cast which is used on broken arms or legs.
The lead in your pencil is made from graphite while crayons and paints are made from talc.
The fireworks are made from yellow-coloured mineral called sulphur, also used for making matches and explosives, sulphuric acid, fertilizers, chemicals and dyestuff.
Copper is a good conductor of heat and electricity obtained from metallic mineral called chalcopyrite or copper pyrite. It so flexible that it can be rolled into flat sheets, wires and other shapes. Hence, copper is used extensively in various electrical appliances. It is also used to make electrical cables and wires, switches, coins, cooking utensils and water pipes. Copper is also used in plumbing, heating, roofing and construction.
Iron is another very important metal that is obtained from minerals such as limonite, hematite and magnetite. These minerals are called iron ores. Iron is mainly used to manufacture steel. Iron and steel are used in almost all industries for manufacturing ships, airplanes, cars, cycles, trucks and vans.
They are widely used in the construction industry to make building support and structures. Iron is also used in the manufacture of computers, and office stationery like staples, nails and paper clips.
The mineral manganese is a key component in the production of iron and steel. Today, the technique devised by the Hittites is called smelting of iron.
Aluminium is another very important metal that is obtained from its ore bauxite. It is used in the manufacture of automobiles and airplanes, and building and electrical materials. It is also used in the bottling and canning industries; kitchen cookware and foil, and personal product like deodorants and cosmetics.
Gold and silver are rare metals that are popularly used to make jewellery. They are also used to make medallions and coins, and in dentistry and medicine.
Certain minerals, called gemstones, are also used to make jewellery. They are hard and come in many beautiful colours. Some gemstones, like diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and rubies, are rare and very expensive and are known as precious stones.
Some gemstones, like turquoise, garnet, amethyst, aquamarine, topaz, moonstone, peridot and opal, are not as rare and so are known as semi-precious stones.
Gemstones are first cut and polished, then set into precious metals like gold, silver and platinum to make artistic jewellery.
Diamond is the hardest mineral found on the earth and so is used for making cutting tools that are used for cutting other gemstones.
Minerals are also very essential for all living beings.
Iron is present in every living cell. It is very essential for the production of haemoglobin, which is the primary component of red blood cells. Other minerals like zinc, manganese, copper and fluoride are also required in very small amounts in our diet.
Minerals are non-renewable resources. It is very important to control their use and conserve minerals for the future.
There are three ways of conserving minerals for future use – reduce, recycle, reuse.
You can reduce the amount of waste you create by choosing what rubbish you throw away. Recycling means to return a waste product to a place where it is remade into either the same product or something different. The reuse of metals will also help in reducing the rate of consumption, and help in the conservation of minerals.