Life's Essentials

Mining enriches our lives with everyday essentials. Ontario's minerals help improve the air we breathe and the food we eat. Farmers and gardeners treat their soil with lime, peat and fertilizers. We season our food with salt and use manganese and carbon to purify water and reduce air pollution. Catalytic converters rely on platinum and palladium to reduce vehicle emissions.

Minerals help save lives and improve our health. Radioactive cobalt and iridium are used in life-saving cancer treatments. Silver is used in X-rays and photographs. Zinc, iodine, magnesium, calcium carbonate, talc and iron are found in toothpaste, talcum powder, sun-screens, cough lozenges and first aid creams. Minerals added to vitamin pills are among the 60 our bodies require for vitality and organ function.

From nickel batteries to copper wiring, silica in light bulbs to uranium for nuclear power, minerals bring us energy and light. More than 30 minerals and metals are used to produce computers, televisions, stereo systems and kitchen appliances. Minerals also open our word to travel. Airplanes, cars, trucks, boats and trains are built with cobalt, steel, iron, copper, zinc and aluminum.

Previously associated with lead pencils and golf clubs, graphite is used in refractory and lubricant applications -braking systems rely on barium and graphite. In addition, graphite is a key component of new energy applications, including lithium-ion batteries used in electric and hybrid electric cars.

Our homes, offices, schools and roads are built with gypsum, silica, stone, sand and gravel from Ontario mines and quarries. Decorative stone such as granite, marble and sandstone adds beauty to our buildings and monuments. When we give gifts of gold, silver, platinum and gemstones, Ontario minerals become part of the most special days of our lives.

The following illustrate some additional mineral uses:

Mining Builds a Better World Infographic
The Extraordinary Raw Materials in an iPhone 6s
Extraordinary Raw Materials in a Tesla Model S
The Role of Minerals & Elements in Life Processes 
Minerals, Elements and Nutrition 
Before It's Yours, It's Mined 
The Birth of Biking 
The Genesis of Cyberchat 


As the Makin Metals infographic below illustrates, the advancement of human civilization has always been tied to our ability to find and use new metals.