The mineral and energy industries provide the essential elements of modern day life from gasoline for our cars; steel for our buildings, trucks, airplanes, and bridges; copper for wires and electrical parts; and aggregate for our roads. Every day, every citizen, in some way, touches or uses products provided by these industries. The Mineral Information Institute estimates that the average American will use 3.7 million pounds of minerals, metals, and fuels during an average life span of 77.6 years—that is over 47,502 pounds of materials every year for every American.
The mineral and energy industries in Colorado produce a wide variety of materials essential to our daily lives; coal provides electricity, natural gas heats our homes, molybdenum hardens our steel. Sand and gravel are necessary for our homes, offices, roads, driveways, and many other uses. Alternative energy technologies require many exotic minerals, and some ordinary ones, most of which have to be imported.