What Are Minerals

We rely on minerals in every aspect of our daily lives. Toothpaste, buildings, eyeglasses, computers, automobiles, hospital equipment are but a few of the many things that cannot be made without minerals.

What are minerals?

The term “minerals” is defined in different ways depending upon the context.

Geological Context: Geologists consider minerals to be solid, naturally-occurring inorganic substances with definite chemical compositions and physical properties, formed by geologic processes.

Legal Context: Minerals have a broader definition that includes all of the naturally occurring minerals as well as rocks and hydrocarbon resources. That expanded definition means that resources such as petroleum, natural gas, limestone, salt, coal and oil sands are considered to be minerals.

What are metallic and industrial minerals?

For the purpose of mineral agreements and royalties, metallic and industrial minerals are legally defined in Alberta as minerals other than petroleum and natural gas, coal, oil sands, ammonite shell, and surface materials such as sand and gravel.

Metallic and industrial minerals include a diversity of solid minerals including:

  • Metallic minerals such as gold, silver, platinum, iron, nickel, lead and zinc,
  • Precious and semi-precious stones such as diamonds, sapphires and garnets,
  • Fossils such as Ammonite Shell,
  • Building stone such as limestone, sandstone and granite, and
  • Industrial minerals such as gypsum and salt. 

The mineral facts page contains information about some unique minerals found in Alberta, leasing information and exploration tool kits are available.