June 28, 2013
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As you watch the fireworks this Fourth of July, remember that the colors splashed across the sky are the direct result of mined metals.
The components of fireworks, when heated to specific temperatures, give off a colorful glow. Metals such as aluminum, magnesium and titanium burn very brightly and are useful for increasing the temperature of the firework. Barium is combined to create green colors and copper is used at lower temperatures to create blue. Patriotic reds are created with lithium and bright whites are made from magnesium or aluminum.
The American Pyrotechnics Association’s National Council on Firework Safety stated that 213.2 million pounds of fireworks are purchased each year in the United States. But currently, more than half of our nation’s mineral needs are met by imports. With the right public policies in place to reform our minerals permitting process, we’d be able to use the resources right beneath our feet to celebrate America’s independence instead of relying on sources overseas.
Have a safe holiday and remember: Minerals make America!