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Mineral Resources - General 
 
Open pit coal mine near Craig.  Colorado has a great variety of mineral resources that society, both modern and prehistoric, has found useful or necessary for survival.  Indigenous people mined clay and sand to use in house construction as well as to make pots and decorative items.  Obsidian, chert, chalcedony, and other forms of silica were quarried in Colorado and used to manufacture tools and weapons 13,000 years ago.  Hard, crystalline igneous and metamorphic rocks were used for grinding stones.  Tools and weapons made from Colorado resources were transported to, and traded in, neighboring states.  The economic importance of Colorado's mineral (gold, molybdenum, aggregate, sand & gravel, gypsum, nahcolite) and mineral fuel (coal, uranium)resources continues today.  The total value of production in 2010 was $2.1 billion.  Remnants of Colorado's gold mining boom near Nevadaville. Photo by John Karachewski.

Colorado's most famous mines, and the cornerstone of the state's pioneer history, are those that produced precious metals.  When prospectors discovered gold in the gravel of the Cherry Creek and South Platte Rivers in 1858, the rush was on.  The pursuit of gold is responsible not only for the development of many mines, but also for settlement of many new cities including Denver.  Later discoveries resulted in metal mines throughout the mountainous areas of the state where gold, silver, lead, zinc, molybdenum, copper and tungsten were mined.  More than 770 minerals have been catalogued in Colorado. 

Resources Presentation: The talk that has been given to more than 35,000 Colorado citizens may now be viewed online, courtesy of the University of Colorado-Denver Business School. "The Global Scramble for Natural Resources--Its Impact on Colorado" by Director of the Colorado Geological Survey Dr. Vince Matthews covers the strain that is being put on mineral and energy resources by the unprecedented global demand of the past decade. To view the video click here. To download the powerpoint, click here.

 
 
 
 
Last Updated: 3/8/2012 4:01 PM 
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