Mineral ResourcesMining operations in Virginia produced 68.9 million tons of non-fuel minerals in 2017 with an estimated market value exceeding $1.5 billion for the first time in the history of the Commonwealth.
Non-fuel mineral resources are presently mined in nearly every county of Virginia. The physical and chemical characteristics of these resources often reflect the type of rock in the geologic province from which they are extracted. For example, carbonate rocks in the Valley and Ridge province provide crushed limestone aggregate and cement; intrusive and metamorphic rocks in the Blue Ridge and Piedmont provinces are mined to produce crushed granite and greenstone; unconsolidated sediments in the Coastal Plain provide sand and gravel natural aggregates. Construction aggregate makes up the greater proportion of the non-fuel minerals mined in Virginia, with contributions from operations producing crushed stone, sand and gravel, and clay and shale.
Crushed stone, used extensively in building and road construction, accounted for about 78 percent of the total tonnage and 56 percent of the total estimated value of non-fuel minerals in 2017. Sand and gravel, also used primarily for construction, amounted to 14 percent of the total tonnage and 7 percent of the total value. Clay and shale serve as raw materials for manufactured bricks, cement, roofing products, etc., and accounted for less than 1 percent of the total tonnage and estimated value in 2017. Industrial minerals encompass a wide variety of mineral commodities used in construction, refractory and ceramic products, chemical and filtration processes, among other specialized applications. The combined tonnages reported in 2017 for this category of minerals amounted to about 7 percent of the total, while the combined estimated value was about 37 percent of the total.
Ores containing iron, copper, lead, zinc and the precious metals gold and silver were mined in Virginia in the past, but most of these metallic deposits are small and of relatively low economic importance today. Additional information concerning individual commodities can be found by selecting the following links.