Rock Products - The Leading Voice of the Aggregate Industries.

What Did You Do With That 13,923 Pounds of Stone?


By Mark S. Kuhar

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has released its updated “per capita consumption” list. This is the list that identifies how many pounds of minerals, and non-metallic minerals, each person in the United States consumes each year.

You may be surprised to learn that each person consumes 13,923 lb.-per-year of aggregates. That is by far the highest amount of any mineral on the list. Each person also consumes 512 lb. of cement.

Natural gas, petroleum products and coal also rank high on the USGS list. I’m not sure how they rank those as minerals, but it makes for good reading.

That 403 lb. of salt concerns me. That is a lot of popcorn, or salt on the rim of a margarita glass. And what exactly did I do with 12 lb. of copper consumed last year? This year, can I take it to the recycling center and sell it? Copper is now around $3.50 per lb., right? That’s a quick $42.

The 0.15 of uranium concerns me the most. That ought to make me glow like a night light.

The bottom line is, we all use a lot of minerals during the course of a year. A total of 37,328 lb. to be exact. That reinforces the need to bring these products to market in the fastest, most efficient, and sustainable manner possible.

Per Capita Consumption of Minerals – 2011

(Pounds Per Person)

Bauxite (Aluminum)

77

Cement

512

Clays

155

Coal

6,439

Copper

12

Iron Ore

340

Lead

11

Manganese

6

Natural Gas

8,037

Petroleum Products

6,619

Phosphate Rock

225

Potash

46

Salt

403

Sand, Gravel, Stone

13,923

Soda Ash

37

Sulfur

82

Uranium

0.15

Zinc

7

Other Metals

25

Other Nonmetals

372

Total

37,328