KGS conducts research on mineral deposits and bulk mineral commodities, and maintains databases of mineral and chemical information for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The Mineral and Fuel Resources Map of Kentucky shows locations of these important commodities. The KGS Minerals Database contains detailed information about the minerals of the state and provides links to mine maps, cross sections, core logs and analysis, geophysical data and private consulting reports.
The Economy, Technology, and Minerals
Kentucky has many natural resources that are vital to the state's growth and economy. The limestone industry produces millions of tons of stone for construction aggregate, agricultural lime, and sulfur sorbent uses in power plants. Sand and gravel are finite resources used as aggregates and currently constitute a multimillion-dollar industry in the state. Clays are mined in various parts of the state for uses in brick, ceramic ware, pottery, and other specialized uses. New research on the potential for rare earth elements (REE) in igneous rocks in parts of the Western Kentucky Fluorspar District shows that REEs are there, and more research is needed on these complex igneous rocks to understand their petrogenesis and potential. Fluorspar, galena, sphalerite, barite, iron, and phosphates are all minerals that were once mined in the state, but mining them is currently uneconomical; however, Kentucky has many resources and reserves of fluorite and zinc, and these commodities may be mined in the future. Other minerals, such as titanium, uranium, and tar sands, may have potential for mining.
Information from KGS can be used to evaluate resources for new markets and to determine new sources of raw materials. With advances in technology and industrial processes and products, or changes in economics, new markets and needs for industrial and metallic minerals are developing, each with its own compositional and physical specifications.
As an example of a changing market, the principal use for limestone and dolostone in the state has traditionally been in construction and agriculture, but federal legislation to control sulfur dioxide emissions from coal-burning power plants has resulted in new markets for carbonate rocks as sorbents in flue-gas desulfurization and fluidized-bed combustion systems.
In the case of fluorite, global economies intermingle with Kentucky miners. In the past, less expensive fluorite was imported from China, Mexico, and India, and as a result, many fluorite mines in Kentucky closed. But now many of these countries consume most of their own fluorite production and will continue to consume their own raw materials for many years to come as their nations grow, so economics will change and in the future, fluorite mining will return to Kentucky.
Clays are mined in various parts of the state and are traditionally used in ceramic or sanitary wares, bricks, pottery, and dinnerware, but new technology has determined that certain types of chemically complex clays have specific uses in chemical, thermal, magnetic, and electrical industries. Some clays are used in superconductor ceramics, in which electricity is conducted with little or no resistance, and other clays have magnetic properties, all of which are of interest in high-technology applications. These clays could have great benefit in our society.
KGS will be ready to meet the challenge by providing information on the state's mineral resources. The KGS Minerals Database contains a wealth of information about Kentucky's mineral resources.