Steinbock Minerals

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Anthracite Coal

Anthracite coal is a high carbonated form of clean-burning coal which is different to the more commonly known "soft coal". Due to its low pollution content anthracite burns much cleaner than other coal as a blue, smokeless flame. In parts of Wales, UK, anthracite coal has been burned since medieval times. In the early 19th century it was discovered to be a much faster heat fuel than the usual coal. The world's largest producing areas include the Appalachian Mountains, the Rocky Mountains of North America and the Andes of South America.

Uses of anthracite coal

From the late 19th century until the 1950s it was mainly used to heat homes, factories, schools and other public buildings. Nowadays anthracite coal's industrial uses include it being a natural replacement for coking coal as a fuel source in the production of metals and the calcination of industrial minerals, such as magnesia.


Barite (also spelt barytes) is a mineral composed of barium sulphate (BaSO4). It receives its name from the Greek word barys which means "heavy." This name is in response to barite's high specific gravity of 4.5, which is exceptional for a non-metallic minerals. The high specific gravity of barite makes it suitable for a wide range of industrial, medical and manufacturing uses. Barite is mainly found in low-temperature hydrothermal mine veins. It often occurs as concretions and void-filling crystals in sediments and sedimentary rocks. Barite is also found as concretions in sand and sandstone. The barite producers are China, India, Morocco, the USA, Mexico, and Turkey.

Uses of barite

Most barite is used as a weighting agent in drilling muds. These high-density muds are circulated down the drill stem and return to the surface between the drill stem and the wall of the well. This action effectively flushes the cuttings produced by the drill and carries them to the surface. Barite with BaSO4 > 94% is used as a pigment in paints and as a weighted filler for paper, cloth and rubber. Barite is the primary ore of barium, which is used to make a wide variety of barium compounds. Some of these are used for x-ray shielding. Barite has the ability to block x-ray and gamma-ray emissions. Barite compounds are also used in diagnostic medical tests.


Bauxite is a naturally occurring, heterogeneous weathering product composed primarily of one or more aluminium hydroxide minerals, plus various mixtures of silica (SiO2), iron oxide (Fe2O3), titania (TiO2), aluminosilicate (clay, etc.), and other impurities in minor or trace amounts. The principal aluminium hydroxide minerals found in varying proportions within bauxite are gibbsite, Al(OH)3, and the polymorphs boehmite and diaspore, both AlO(OH). Bauxite is typically classified according to its end use application, metallurgical or non-metallurgical. Non-metallurgical bauxite production is mainly limited to China, Guyana, Brazil, Greece, Turkey, and Italy.

Uses of bauxite

Most bauxite (90%) is mined for ultimate processing to aluminium metal, 5% is mined and mostly calcined for non-metallic uses such as cement, refractories, chemicals, abrasives, ceramic proppants, and processing brown fused alumina, and 5% is processed to various alumina grades for a wide range of non-metallic uses ranging from ceramics to flame retardants.


Fluorspar is a mineral composed of calcium and fluorine (CaF2). Fluorspar is deposited in veins by hydrothermal processes and often occurs as a gangue mineral associated with metallic ores. Fluorspar can also be found in the cavities and fractures of lime-stones and dolomites. There are limited commercially developed sources worldwide: China and Mexico are the leading world producers; fluorspar is also produced in Spain, the UK, South Africa, Kenya, and Mongolia.

Uses of fluorspar

Fluorspar is divided into three different grades representing its three main market sectors: “acid” grade, or acidspar, fluorspar is a high purity material used by the chemical industry for the production of hydrofluoric acid as a precursor for the manufacture a wide variety of fluorochemicals, including aluminium fluoride used in aluminium production; “ceramic” grade is used in the ceramics, glass and enamelware production; and “metallurgical” grade, or metspar, is used as a flux in the production of steel, iron, and other metals such as aluminium.


Talc is a crystalline hydrated magnesium silicate mineral with chemical formula, Mg3Si4O10(OH), with a theoretical chemical composition of 63.37% SiO2, 31.88% MgO and 4.75% H2O.

The softest of all minerals with a Mohs hardness of 1, talc is an organophillic, water repellent, and chemically inert mineral. Talc is usually green, white, grey, brown or colourless. It is a translucent mineral with a pearly lustre.

The term “talc” covers a wide range of natural products. Impurities commonly encountered include magnesite (magnesium carbonate), calcite, quartz and chlorite (a mix of Mg- Al- and Fe- silicate/Mg(OH)2).

Leading producers of talc are China, India, Brazil, the USA, Finland, and France.

Uses of talc

With its unique characteristics talc is a versatile mineral. Talc has important applications as a functional component in paper, paints, plastics, rubbers, ceramics, fertilisers, animal feed, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, construction materials, and other applications.


Ilmenite, named after the Ilmen Mountains, Russia, where it was first located, is a valuable source of titanium dioxide (TiO2; a white pigment), and is commercially termed as titanium dioxide feedstock. The mineral may occur as a hard rock deposit, often with iron ore, or as a placer deposit of “heavy minerals” associated with zircon, rutile, leucoxene, monazite, garnet, sillimanite, and magnetite – hence the term mineral sands.

Apart from hard rock ilmenite production in Canada, Ukraine, and Norway, most ilmenite is mined from mineral sands deposits in Australia, South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, India, USA, and Malaysia.

Once mined, ilmenite is usually processed via a sulphate or chloride process route. It maybe further upgraded (to higher TiO2 concentrations) via roasting processes to produce synthetic rutile, chloride and sulphate slag, and upgraded slag.

Uses of ilmenite

The main use (90%) of ilmenite is as a feedstock for TiO2 pigment production ,which has high demand in the manufacture of paint, inks, paper, and plastics. Other uses include titanium metal production for aircraft engines and frames, military applications, medical and sporting equipment; and as a weighting agent in drilling muds.


Magnesia is the term for magnesium oxide (MgO), the valuable compound which is derived from mining and processing mainly the hard rock mineral, magnesite (MgCO3), but less commonly, other hard rock minerals such as dolomite, brucite, huntite, and hydromagnesite. Magnesite deposits are either cryptocrystalline (associated with ultrabasic rocks) or crystalline (associated with carbonate rocks) in nature.

Another important, higher purity, but less common source of magnesia is manufactured by chemical processing from seawater and magnesia-rich brines.

Most magnesite undergoes one or more of three forms of heat treatment (calcination), each increasing in burning intensity and relative processing cost, and resulting in the three main grades: caustic calcined magnesia (CCM), dead burned magnesia (or sintered magnesia; DBM), and electrofused magnesia (EFM or FM).

The processing of CCM also yields magnesium hydroxide (Mg(OH)2; MHD), itself a valuable commodity.

Leading magnesite and magnesia producers are China, Turkey, North Korea, Russia, Slovakia, Austria, Greece, Spain, Australia, and Brazil.

Uses of magnesite and magnesia

Crude magnesite: agriculture, glass, ceramics, and feedstock for magnesium metal production.

CCM: animal feed; fertilisers; environmental (water neutralisation, anti-pollutant agent in power stations emissions); feedstock for fused magnesia and dead burned magnesia production; cement, abrasive binder; pulp and paper.

MHD: environmental (water/waste neutralisation, flue gas desulphurisation); pharmaceuticals (eg. “milk of magnesia”); flame retardant (especially in plastics); feedstock for range of chemicals.

DBM: a vital ingredient in a range of refractory products (heat resistant bricks and cements) used extensively in the manufacture of steel, non-ferrous metals, glass, cement, lime, ceramics, and in petrochemical refineries and waste incinerators.

FM: in refractory products used in critical areas of manufacture of steel, non-ferrous metals, glass, cement, lime, ceramics; steel coatings; nuclear reactors; rocket nozzles; as electrical insulating material in heating elements, welding machines.


Phosphorus is essential to plant and animal life as a primary nutrient. Phosphorus is commercially sourced from phosphate rock deposits containing phosphorus-bearing minerals such as chlorapatite (Ca5(PO4)3Cl) and fluorapatite (Ca5(PO4,CO3,OH)3(F,OH)). Most (85%) phosphate deposits are marine sedimentary rocks, although there are some significant igneous phosphate rock deposits such as carbonatites.

Leading producers include the USA, Morocco, China, Russia, Tunisia, Jordan, Brazil, Israel, and Senegal.

Uses of phosphate

Fertilisers accounts for the majority (90%) of phosphate production via the manufacture of phosphoric acid. Other uses include detergents, animal feed, and industrial applications such as food processing, and metal treatment.