Rock Products: Building Arizona
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.