Minerals and construction materials mined in Minnesota

  • Iron Ore: is used to make steel of various types and is the most common metal used. In the U.S., iron ore is only mined in northern Minnesota and Michigan.
  • Quartzite: is mined for various applications. Uses include dimension stone*, construction aggregates** for roads, poultry grit, and other industrial applications in the southwestern portion of the state.

    * Dimension Stone: is cut rock used for counter tops, building facades, and grave stones.

    ** Construction Aggregate: includes sand and gravel as well as crushed stone. Aggregate is used for roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, sidewalks, and housing and commercial buildings.

  • Granite and Gabbro: is mined for dimension stone and construction aggregates in various locations within the state.
  • Limestone/Dolomite: is mined for dimension stone and construction aggregates in the southeastern portion of the state.
  • Peat: is used for horticultural products like potting soil and is mined in northern Minnesota.
  • Silica Sand: is mined for glass bottles and other industrial applications and is mined in southeaster portion of the state.
  • Kaolin Clay: is mined for a wide variety of applications including making bricks, coating for paper manufacturing, and pottery.

Minerals for which exploration currently occurs

  • Gold and Silver
  • Copper
  • Nickel
  • Iron
  • Diamonds
  • Platinum Group Elements (PGE)
  • Titanium

Future mines in Minnesota:

Copper: is used for electrical wire and cables, plumbing, coins, consumer and general products. The State's first copper mine is currently under environmental review and permitting.

Minnesota Minerals by the Numbers:

Date of the first iron ore was shipped from Minnesota: 1854

Number of active taconite (low-grade iron ore) mining operations: 6 mines (All located on the Mesabi Iron Range)

Taconite Pellet Production for 2006: 40,000,000 long tons

Number of active peat mines in Minnesota: 10 mines

Pounds of aggregate used by every person in Minnesota per day: 58 pounds

(Updated June 2008)