•      Our Earth is covered with natural resources and we use these sources in our everyday life in many ways.

What is a Mineral?

•      A mineral is a naturally occurring inorganic solid; with definite chemical composition and specific atomic arrangement.

•      Minerals may be simple substances or very complex ones.

•      Some minerals are common while others are rare.

•      Even rocks are formed from minerals.

•      But all rocks are not the same.

•      Some rocks are composed of only one mineral like- limestone is a sedimentary rock and is composed of the mineral CALCITE.

•      Some minerals like calcite, gypsum, mica, feldspar are common minerals.

•      These minerals are non-metallic.

•      Some minerals like gold, aluminium, silver, copper, iron are metallic minerals.

Figure 24: Our body needs minerals for growth

•      Even our body needs some minerals such as sodium, calcium, and iron for healthy growth and development of our body.


Uses of Rocks & Minerals:

•      Almost everything we use in our daily life has some connection with rocks and minerals.

•      Today, we build our houses out of drywall, made of gypsum; we make cement from lime, etc.

For example:

(1)   Lead:  is used in batteries.

(2)  Copper:  is used for making copper wire to conduct electricity needed in our car, home, office, school, etc.

(3)  Aluminium: is used for making aluminium foils.

(4)  Clay: is used to coat the pages of newspapers, magazines, etc.


(A) Rocks are used as Building Material:

•      Most of the rocks used in construction comes from quarries.

•      Quarries are places where sand, gravel and stone are excavated for building materials.

Figure 25: Quarries

•      Although wood, straw and mud is used for houses in some parts of the word, most cities today are built of stones and metals (minerals).

•      Many rock & minerals are used to make buildings.

•      Concrete, steel, glass and wallboard are all common in modern buildings.

•      Granite is used to decorate the outer sides of buildings as well as tiles for floors and counters.

(a)                              (b)

Figure 26: (a) Kitchen counters made up of granite

(b) House exterior made up of black granite

•      It is a hard stone that resists wear and weathering.

Figure 27: Interior walls and floors made up of marble

•      Marble is used for interior walls and floors because it is soft.


(B) Rocks give us Useful Metals:

•      Many machines and tools are made of metals.


Figure 28: Metals obtained from minerals used in various ways

•      Many different kinds of metals are used in making cars, planes and boats.

•      Metal is used in pop cans and cars and they should be recycled.

Figure 29: Pop cans made up of metal

•      Metal is durable, and is therefore used for frame work of buildings, and some outdoor furniture.


(C) Some rocks give us fuel:

•      Coal is one of the most important sources of fuel.

Figure 30: Coal- An important source of fuel

•      Coal is primarily used in the generation of electricity.

•      Petroleum is fossil fuel (obtained from buried remains of animals) is very valuable and is called black gold.

•      It gives us many different kinds of fuels such as LPG, CNG, diesel, petrol, and kerosene.

•      Petroleum is also used in polishes, printing inks, dry cleaning, etc.

•      Uranium is a rare mineral that is used to produce tremendous amount of energy.

Figure 31: Nuclear plant

•      The type of energy produced from uranium is called nuclear energy.


(D) Some Rocks are precious and used as gemstones:

•      Ruby, sapphire, topaz, emerald are minerals.

•      These are found in the form of crystals.

Figure 32: Various precious gemstones

•      When polished, these are very beautiful and are used in jewellery.



Figure 33: Diamond


(E) Some Minerals are used as Fertilizers:

•      Sulphur is used in the manufacturing of –

        o  Fertilizer (necessary to grow our food), chemicals,

        o  Sulphuric acid

        o  Papermaking

        o  Paint

        o  Detergents

        o  Explosives

        o  Drugs 

        o  Dyes