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|Interest in industrial minerals in recent years has increased to such an extent that it has taken them into the mainstream of the Australian mineral industry. Notwithstanding that time series data on the values of production, exports, and imports show that industrial minerals are overshadowed by metals and energy minerals, their contribution to the national economy is important and more significant than would seem to be indicated by the statistics. Whereas the ex mine value of metals generally includes some processing (at least to a concentrate stage), most industrial minerals are valued at little more than their extraction cost, in addition to which such costs are generally low because most industrial minerals are exploited in low-cost surface operations. Consequently, values of mine production of metals and industrial minerals are not strictly comparable in that values of mine production of metals tend to be overstated Short term growth of the industrial minerals sector is assured because of several new projects already commissioned but not yet reflected in the statistics. Longer term growth is also assured, based on various other major projects that are likely to come on stream in the early to mid 1990s.|