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Mineral Industries

All rocks are made up of minerals, and mineral occurrences for which there is a market and commercial use qualify as mineral resources. To be extracted, a mineral resource must have a high enough quality and quantity to offset the cost of mining and processing.

Pennsylvania is fortunate to have a considerable number of minable resources. The total value of Pennsylvania’s nonfuel-mineral production was $1.51 billion in 2013, placing it 15th in the nation according to statistics compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey.

In the production of nonfuel-mineral resources among the states, Pennsylvania ranked as follows:

  • Second for crushed stone
  • Seventh for lime
  • Seventh for portland cement

The Pennsylvania Geological Survey publishes many reports pertaining to the mineral industry. Some noteworthy ones include:

  • The Nonfuel Mineral Resources of Pennsylvania (PDF) is an introductory overview of the mineral-resources industry in Pennsylvania, past and present. It covers both the nonmetallic resources that continue to be an important industry in Pennsylvania as well as the metallic resources, such as iron, lead, zinc, and chromium, that were important in Pennsylvania from the 18th century through the middle of the 20th century.
  • The Directory of Nonfuel-Mineral Producers in Pennsylvania (PDF) is a tabular-formatted publication that contains detailed information from mining companies about the locations of their extraction operations, the rocks that are being mined, and the products that are derived from those rocks. The data in the directory can also be accessed through an interactive map.
  • Geology and Mineralogy of Uranium and Thorium in the Reading Prong of Berks, Lehigh, and Northampton Counties, Pennsylvania (ZIP) provides detailed information about the extent and nature of uranium and thorium deposits in the Reading Prong region, including maps and analytical data. Although once eagerly sought in the United States, uranium deposits in Pennsylvania are no longer mined. 
  • Atlas of Pennsylvania’s Mineral Resources is a four-part publication covering limestone and dolomite, clays and shales, and historic metal mines and occurrences. It can be accessed as Mineral Resource Report 50 from Pennsylvania Geological Survey Publications (ZIP).
  • 46th Forum on the Geology of Industrial Minerals (PDF) is a booklet of abstracts and a field-trip guide from the annual international forum on the geology of industrial minerals that was hosted by the Pennsylvania Geological Survey in 2010. It focuses primarily on industrial minerals in the state.