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.
  • 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. Construction Aggregate is mined in every county in Minnesota.
  • Dimension Stone: is cut rock used for counter tops, building facades, and grave stones. Dimension stone quarries are found in various locations within the state and include rock types such as quartzite, granite, gabbro, and limestone.
  • 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.

Advanced-stage mineral development projects in Minnesota

  • Copper-Nickel-Platinum Group Minerals (Cu-Ni-PGM): mining projects targeting known Cu-Ni-PGM deposits in northeastern Minnesota are in advanced stages of development. In November 2018, the state issued the first Permit to Mine for a Cu-Ni-PGM project. These metals are used in the construction, manufacturing, and transportation industries, and are critical for the development of alternative energy sources and a low carbon economy.
  • Cobalt: a U.S. Critical Mineral that is used to make high-strength metal alloys. Cobalt is an essential component of lithium ion batteries that power electric vehicles and consumer devices. Cobalt is found in Cu-Ni-PGM deposits in northeastern Minnesota, and would be a valuable co-product during copper-nickel mining.

Minerals for which exploration currently occurs in Minnesota

  • Gold
  • Copper-Nickel-PGM
  • Iron
  • Titanium

Minnesota minerals by the numbers:

Date of the first iron ore was shipped from Minnesota: July 31, 1884 from the Soudan Open Pit Mine

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

Taconite Pellet Production for 2021: 39,098,876 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 May 2022)

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