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Rock Products: Building Arizona

What are industrial minerals, and how do you use them?

What are industrial minerals, and how do you use them?


Take a tour of the cement making process.

Take a tour of the cement making process.


Get acquainted Arizona’s rock product and industrial mineral sources.

Arizona also mines rock products and industrial minerals. With a total economic impact of $2.86 billion, Arizona’s rock products industry is a major part of the state’s economy. The industry employs over 6,000 people directly and affects an additional 8,800 jobs.

Rock products and other industrial minerals are instrumental for common household goods. These materials are used to make glass and light bulbs, ceramic tiles, plates, cups, paint, appliances, wooden flooring, books, salt and sugar, even wine and beer.

However, the vast majority of industrial minerals are gravel and a combination of rocks and sand known as aggregate, used to make concrete. Concrete is a mixture of aggregate, cement, and water. Finished concrete is then used for houses, large buildings, and infrastructure. It is estimated that the average house in Arizona uses approximately 200 tons of aggregate in construction.

Because these materials are so heavy, transporting them is costly and inefficient. Arizona has approximately 350 mines, quarries and aggregate plants to extract and process industrial minerals in a variety of locations to cut down on transportation costs. The majority of them are aggregate plants that process rock into smaller pieces for concrete. Arizona also quarries flagstone, granite, marble and other decorative stone.

The Drake Cement facility

Drake Cement LLC is the Southwest's newest cement company, with full-scale operations beginning in early 2011. The Drake Cement facility is the first of its kind to be built in the state in over 50 years



Source: Arizona Rock Products Association

Still a feat of modern engineering, the Hoover Dam contains of 3,250,000 cubic yards of concrete. It is estimated that there is enough concrete in the dam to pave a two-lane highway from San Francisco to New York.


Gravel is an important construction and infrastructure material.