Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 31, Number 3, 1963

Page 46

UTAH'S CINDERELLA MINERALS: The Nonmetallics BY M I L E S P . R O M N E Y

Commonly referred to as "industrial nonmetallic minerals," the nonmetallic, nonfuel group might well be called the "Cinderella minerals." They have generally lacked the spectacular romantic appeal of the metals or of gas and oil. No mining "rushes" followed their discovery. Only meager records have been kept of their discovery, initial exploitation, and development. With few exceptions they are very low in unit value, so cannot be shipped and marketed over any great distance as raw materials. However, when markets develop for the great variety of products which are derived from them, they then furnish the basis for extensive processing in the communities where they are found. Gypsum, cement rock, clay, limestone, sand, and gravel are typically illustrative; whereas Gilsonite, fluorspar, salt, and sulphur, because of relatively high unit value, might be classed as the exceptions. Utah and other Western States have substantial quantities and varieties of such minerals. The history of their development in Utah and the West has been much the same. Individual community needs supported small group or individually operated plants through the period of the founding and early growth of the communities. This phase continued, often on an intermittent operating basis, until population growth, improved processing techniques, up-graded quality, and widened variety of products justified the necessary investment for plants capable of producing for export markets as well as for expanded needs in the near-plant areas. Mr. Romney is manager of the Utah Mining Association.