Arizona is endowed with several minerals and metals that have provided an economic platform for Arizona’s growth predating statehood and which continue as major exports to this day. These minerals and metals are used throughout the world to build infrastructure and sustain today’s standard of living. Below is a list of the most abundant metals and minerals found in Arizona and some of their common applications.
Arizona's economy was built on the 5 C's of Copper, Cotton, Cattle, Climate and Citrus. Copper remains an important economic engine for our state. Over 65% percent of the copper output for the United States is mined in Arizona.
Copper is a key component of state-of-the-art energy, aerospace, transportation, and telecommunications systems throughout the world. The red metal remains essential to plumbing, conductivity and connectivity, and it is a critical element in new technology. Antimicrobial copper is also gaining prominence for its ability to help prevent the spread of infections.
AMA Fact Sheet on Uses of Copper in Modern Life
Molybdenum is used primarily in the steel industry for corrosion resistance, strengthening and heat resistance. Molybdenum chemicals are used in a number of diverse applications such as lubricants, additives for water treatment, feedstock for the production of pure molybdenum metal, and catalysts used for petroleum refining. Pure molybdenum metal powder products are used in a number of diverse applications, such as lighting and electronics.
AMA Fact Sheet on Uses of Molybdenum in Modern Life
Source: International Molybdenum Association, 2015, http://www.imoa.info/molybdenum-uses/molybdenum-uses.php. The chart above refers to molybdenum produced from mined ore, not to scrap material recycled by chemical processes or remelting; hence the name "new molybdenum."
Potash is primarily used as an agricultural fertilizer. It helps crops by improving disease resistance, facilitating water uptake, increasing yield rates, enhancing nutritive value of edible crops, improving tolerance of both drought and frost conditions and making crops less prone to injury during transportation. Potash is essential to securing the food supply for a growing global population. Other uses of potash include soaps and detergents, as a water softener, as a deicer for streets and sidewalks and in the manufacturing of specialized glasses such as those for eye glasses and computer monitors.
The Holbrook Basin in Northern Arizona holds a significant deposit of potash. Two companies are engaged in an extensive permitting process to open Arizona's first potash mine in 2018.
AMA Fact Sheet on Uses of Potash in Modern Life
Limestone is calcium carbonate mined from the ground to produce quicklime and hydrated lime for a variety of industrial and construction purposes. Major uses of limestone include the asphalt for road construction, plasters and mortars for building construction, water and wastewater treatment, steel manufacturing, and sugar refining.
AMA Fact Sheet on Uses of Limestone in Modern Life
The most famous of all precious metals, it is widely sought after throughout the world for both its investment qualities and industrial properties. Gold has traditionally served three functions: as a monetary instrument, a financial asset, and a raw material mostly used in jewelry and decorative objects. Lesser known functions of gold occur as a conductor in electronics, in computer chips, aerospace equipment, and in certain medical applications.