Published On: 11/24/2015

Industrial minerals contribute $33.5 billion to U.S. GDP

Technical paper draws attention to minerals’ value to society

As the leading international resource for fact-based, technical information about mining and related industries, the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. (SME) has released a technical briefing paper addressing the economic impact the industrial minerals sector has on society. In the paper, “Industrial Minerals’ Impact on the U.S. Economy,” SME states industrial minerals are fundamental to the U.S. economy, contributing $33.5 billion to the real gross domestic product (GDP) and directly employing 68,000 workers. The physical properties of industrial minerals, such as absorption, material texture and high specific gravity, allow for their use in a variety of consumer products and applications.

“Although industrial minerals are prevalent in nearly all aspects of our daily lives, the general public knows very little about them,” said SME Executive Director David L. Kanagy. “They are the critical raw materials that support myriad market sectors from abrasives, drilling mud and pharmaceuticals, to synthetic fibers, plastics and paper.”

  • American manufacturers currently rely on foreign suppliers for more than half of the minerals they use in finished products.

  • The United States is 100 percent dependent on imports for 19 minerals and more than 50 percent import-dependent for an additional 24 minerals – many of which are industrial minerals.

  •  As the U.S. economy continues to recover, manufacturing, construction and agriculture will drive demand for increased use of industrial minerals that will fuel the domestic engine of growth.

  • Industrial minerals are responsible for $33.5 billion of the $232 billion value that mining adds to the U.S. economy on an annual basis.

  • Approximately 68,000 workers are directly employed by the industrial minerals mining sector.

To obtain a copy of this paper, go to: Industrial Minerals' Impact on the U.S. Economy

The Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. (SME) is a professional society (nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation) whose more than 15,000 membership represents all professionals serving the minerals industry in more than 100 countries. SME members include engineers, geologists, metallurgists, educators, students and researchers. SME advances the worldwide mining and underground construction community through information exchange and professional development. SME's staff is located in Englewood, Colorado.

For more information contact John Hayden, Deputy Executive Director - Public Affairs and Government Relations, at (303) 948-4250 or