Quarried natural resources

Quarried natural resources

Interesting facts about quarried natural resources
Every year, the building materials and quarrying industry extracts roughly 560 million tonnes of primary raw materials or uses these materials in production. In addition, almost 100 million tonnes of secondary raw materials are used every year in the production of building materials to conserve resources.
Interesting facts about quarried natural resources
Quarried natural resources include a variety of mineral deposits; gravel, sand and natural stone account for the largest proportion of the extracted materials in terms of volume.
Interesting facts about quarried natural resources
Around 80% of the quarried materials are supplied to the building industry, while around 20% is used in the chemical, steel or glass industries.
Interesting facts about quarried natural resources
Quarried natural resources are needed for the manufacture of many products that we use in our daily lives. Stone powder, for example, is the basic ingredient of toothpaste.
Interesting facts about quarried natural resources
Statistically, each one of us needs 1 kg of plaster, stone dust, sand, gravel or natural stones per hour
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Quarried natural resources comprise a great number of mineral deposits, in particular gravel and sands, broken natural stone, lime, marl and dolomite stones, gypsum and anhydrite stones, as well as clays and loams. Quarried natural resources are bulk raw mate- rials; due to geological conditions, they are site-bound and not distributed evenly across the country.

History

Quarrying has been handed down since the beginning of human history. According to scientific findings, the oldest known “stones from human hands’ originate from the 9th to the 8th century B.C., taken from ground fortifications in the Middle East. The extrac- tion of quarried natural resources also has a very long tradition in Germany. In the past, these raw materials were mainly extracted by hand, but companies today use modern technology. Geophysics, GPS, intelligent machine and plant control and largely automated processes control the extraction of these natural resources.

Extraction

Every year, the building materials and quarrying in- dustry extracts approx. 560 million tonnes of primary raw materials or uses these materials in production. In 2018, gravel and sands, with around 259 million tonnes, and broken natural stone with some 226 mil- lion tonnes were among the most important raw materials in the German extractive industry. In 2018, the gravel, sand and natural stone extraction sector in Germany employed 38,02651 people and operated around 2,700 extraction sites.

Uses

Around 80% of the quarried natural resources is sup- plied to the building industry and around 20% is used in the chemical, steel or glass industries. In addition to the extracted primary earth and stone, around100 million tonnes of secondary raw materials (mineral construction waste and by-products from industrial processes) are used in the building industry every year. These result from e.g. the demolition of buildings, the production of pig iron (blast furnace slag) or from electricity generation in conventional power stations (FGD gypsum; fly ash). The use of secondary raw materials contributes to the substitution of primary natural sources. The substitution rate is around 15%.

Industrial minerals

History

Industrial minerals are mineral rocks that can be im- mediately used in industry due to their special chemi- cal and physical properties, i.e. without any substance conversion. In addition to the salts already men- tioned, this group includes kaolin (also called china clay or porcelain earth), quartz sand, quartzite, feld- spar, sticky sand, bentonite, special clay, silicas, fluo- rite and barite.
Industrial minerals have been extracted in Germany for hundreds of years in very diverse quantities. Apart from salts, the two most important industrial miner- als in Germany in terms of volume are quartz sand/ gravel and clay (for coarse and fine ceramics) with production volumes of around 10.7 million tonnes, approx. 3.1 million tonnes (clay for fine ceramics), and 11.3 million tonnes (clay for coarse ceramics) in 2018.

Extraction

The extraction of industrial minerals in Germany is extremely regional in structure, due to natural condi- tions. While, for example, kaolin is mainly extracted in Bavaria and Saxony and silica in Bavaria, respectively, the extraction of special clay is mainly concentrated in Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse.
Apart from salts, industrial minerals in Germany are mainly mined above ground by small and medium- sized enterprises. In contrast, fluorite and barite are also mined underground. In 2014, Germany boasted a total of 627 active production sites, around half of which were dedicated solely to the extraction of quartz and quartz sands.

Uses

Due to their chemical and physical properties, indus- trial minerals are mainly used in the paper, chemical, glass, ceramic, refractory, foundry and steel industries. However, the pharmaceutical industry, environmental management (exhaust gas purification, wastewater treatment plants, solar panel and wind turbine plants) and the automotive industry also use industrial min- erals.

Iron ore

In Germany, iron ore is mined in North Rhine-West- phalia and Saxony-Anhalt. The iron ore extracted here is not smelted into iron, however; it is used mostly in the form of crushed stone, chippings and brittle sands as a coloured and iron-rich aggregate for the concrete or cement industry.
1 BfA 2018