Sedimentary in origin, ore is primarily composed
Deposited in warm, shallow seas, ores are widely distributed across the earth. Ore deposits often comprise the aquifers from which we get water, act as stratigraphic reservoirs for oil and gas deposits, and are widely used as industrial minerals. Some ores are formed almost entirely of skeletons of marine organisms and form very distinctive fossiliferous rocks. Other ores are the consolidated equivalent of lime mud and have a very small grain size and a smooth texture.
Lime plays a key role in many air pollution control technologies. It is used to remove sulfur dioxide and hydrogen chloride from various flue gas emissions. Lime is also routinely used to treat municipal wastewater, industrial sludges and animal wastes where it is used to neutralize pH, precipitate metals and control odors. It is also the primary treatment agent for many domestic and industrial water supplies where it is utilized as a filter, ball mill, as an acid neutralizer and a chemical precipitant. Lime is also used in the paper and pulp industry, as a flux in steel manufacturing and is essential in the production of sugar. When mixed with water and a few other ingredients, lime becomes whitewash, a common paint of the 19th century.
Commonly known as 'aglime,' agricultural ore is basically pulverized ore used in the agricultural field to change the physical and chemical properties of the soil. Aglime is an important soil amendment that can be added to crop land to neutralize soil acidity, prevent erosion and increase crop yield. Dolomitic aglime adds both calcium and magnesium to the soil and improves water and nutrient uptake of the plant. Aglime may also improve the efficiency of fertilizers and herbicides.
One of the most important uses for ore is construction aggregate. Ore aggregate is one of the largest mining industries in the world. It is produced from crushed quarry rock. Production and processing involves mining rock from a suitable location then crushing, screening and washing it to obtain the proper cleanliness and gradation. The aggregate is then stockpiled and finally shipped to the site for use in a wide variety of construction applications. Highways, homes, businesses and countless infrastructure components could not be built without the use of large amounts of aggregate. The American Geological Institute estimates that 229 tons of aggregate are needed for a 2,000 square foot two-story house, with a full basement and that one mile of a typical two-lane asphalt highway, with a crushed stone base, requires 25,000 tons of aggregate.
Another important use of ore is the production of portland cement. Cement is produced by burning finely crushed ore with secondary raw materials such as shale, sand, and fly ash. The resulting product, called 'clinker,' is then mixed with gypsum and finely ground. The most common use of cement is in the production of concrete.
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