Quartz - Silicon Dioxide / Silica
Quartz (silicon dioxide / silica) is the most common of all minerals. Its natural occurrence is widespread and abundant as it forms some 12% of the earth’s crust. Quartz, which has the chemical composition SiO2, exists in varying degrees of purity throughout the world. Quartz crystals are mined by underground and open-cast methods, generally in druse fissure pegmatites. Once mined the ore is washed, sorted and dried. The ore is further reduced in size and then milled in a specialised procedure.
Quartz’ uses are vast and varied. Its metallurgical applications (where it is reduced to silicon metal) include the production of ferrosilicons and silica-based refractories as well as its role as an essential raw material in the production of glass and ceramic materials. The micronised form, to a lesser degree, sees use as a filler in adhesive, paint and coating applications. It is also an ingredient in scouring powders and core sands for foundries. Furthermore it has a well-established application as a reinforcing aggregate in construction products.