June 22, 2012
Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment ...
Many Americans recognize that minerals are a part of their daily lives, but they might be shocked to find out that they personally depend on more than 38,000 pounds of new minerals annually—that’s more than 100 pounds of minerals per day.
While minerals are frequently used to create the materials used in the construction of roads and buildings, they also serve as critical components in the manufacturing of high-tech electronics, next-generation vehicles and other everyday devices. Below are a few key highlights from the graphic below:
314 lbs. of iron ore is used to make steel – buildings, cars, trucks, planes, trains; other construction; other containers.
As an integral component in the formation of steel, iron ore is the world’s most commonly used metal and critical to nearly every industry, from energy and construction to transportation and equipment manufacturing. Being an essential component in the production of steel, iron ore is the backbone of many industries and is an economic stimulant in the U.S., with an estimated value of $5 billion and supporting nearly 21,000 jobs across the country.
12 lbs. of copper is used in buildings; electrical and electronic parts; plumbing; and transportation.
Globally, the demand for copper is growing, as it is increasingly used in the development of advanced technology and electronics. For example, nearly five tons of copper is needed to make just one wind turbine, and it is a critical component in lithium-ion batteries and the wiring that powers hybrid vehicles.
7 lbs. of zinc is used to make metals rust resistant, in various metals and alloys, paint, rubber, skin creams, health care and nutrition.
Most commonly known as a key ingredient in sunscreen and skin creams, zinc plays an important role in the manufacturing of construction materials and transportation technologies. Additionally, zinc is an integral mineral present in many everyday products, like patio furniture and children’s toys.
Beyond these minerals and those shown below, minerals of all kinds serve as the foundation of innovation and manufacturing. For more information on minerals’ daily use and essential applications, check out our online toolkit here.