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Mineral Resources of Colorado's Front Range

Today's global society depends on minerals for fuel (oil, gas, coal) and nonfuel uses to build homes and cities, fertilize crops, and provide the wealth that allows us to buy goods and services. However, nonfuel minerals are rarely used directly by individual consumers. For example, when we buy light bulbs we are also buying the silica, soda ash, lime, coal, salt, tungsten, copper, nickel, molybdenum, iron, manganese, aluminum, and zinc, which are required to convert electricity into light.

The United States is the world’s largest consumer of mineral commodities.

These commodities accounted for more than $478 billion in the U.S. economy in 2005.  And on public lands in Colorado, $4.9 billion was generated by mineral and energy development in 2011 alone. The production and consumption of these commodities contribute to maintaining the U.S. economy, national security and our way of life.  Because mineral commodities directly affect us on many levels, it is important for us to understand where mineral deposits can be found, how they are formed, and what their significance is in the necessities and products we purchase and use every day. 

Colorado industries produce a wide variety of industrial materials, dimension and decorative stones, conventional and non-conventional energy sources, gemstones, metals and specialty minerals. These industries are beneficial to local, state and federal governments because royalties are paid to the governments, which helps pay for law enforcement, education, health, roads, and community development programs, all of which are beneficial to the general public. 

Additional Information


Little Known Facts

Minerals: 1776 vs today

Minerals used per capita

Solid Minerals... What's the big deal?

A photo of a quarryIndirect economic benefits are also realized from the minerals extracted and the associated operations, such as employee wages and city and county revenues collected from sales tax, property tax and equipment licensing. 

The Royal Gorge Field Office (RGFO) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manage the public lands and natural resources from the continental divide east to the Kansas border, and from the Wyoming border south to the New Mexico and Oklahoma borders.