Natural resources are the foundation for our lives and lifestyles.
What would our lives be like without mining? Imagine a world without transportation such as jet planes or railroads, without communications such as cell phones or radar, without decorative items such as art or jewelry, without buildings such as skyscrapers or parking garages, without defense systems items such as missiles or submarines, without medical care items such as X-rays or surgical tools. We wouldn’t have any of these things without mining and minerals.
Even though no standard definition of the term “clay” is accepted by geologists, agronomists, engineers, and others, the term is generally well understood by those who use it. Clay is an abundant, naturally occurring, fine-grained material composed predominately of hydrous aluminum silicates.
Clay is not a single mineral, but a number of minerals. Clays fall into six general categories: kaolin, ball clays, fire clays, bentonite, common clays and Fuller’s earth. Clays are common all over the world. Some regions produce large quantities of specific types of clay. The United States is self-sufficient so it imports only small amounts of clay.
Rock Classification: sedimentary
Typically, common clays and shales are mined from open pits, and these pits are located near the processing plants to minimize production costs. Usually both the raw material and the finished products are heavy and the profit margin is low, so production costs must be controlled. Most products made from these materials are processed and marketed in a similar manner to refractory clays. Common clays and shale require little beneficiation. Typically they are crushed or ground only before milling and extrusion. Physical contaminants such as concretions are removed by dry screening.