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- The mica group of
sheet silicate minerals includes several closely related materials
having highly perfect basal cleavage.
- All are monoclinic
with a tendency towards pseudo-hexagonal crystals and are similar in
- The highly
perfect cleavage, which is the most prominent characteristic of mica, is
explained by the hexagonal sheet-like arrangement of its
- The word
"mica" is thought to be derived from the Latin word micare, to glitter,
in reference to the brilliant appearance of this mineral (especially
when in small scales). Mica has a lamellar form with a shiny
- The largest domestic
use of dry-ground mica was in joint compound for filling and finishing
seams and blemishes in gypsum wallboard.
- The plastics
industry uses dry-ground mica as an extender and filler, especially in
parts for automobiles for lightweight insulation to suppress sound and
- Ground mica is used
as a pigment extender that also facilitates suspension, reduces
chalking, prevents shrinking and shearing of the paint film, increases
resistance of the paint film to water penetration and weathering, and
brightens the tone of colored pigments.
- Demand for mica
decreased in U.S. and foreign markets in 1998. Foreign trade was mixed,
with the value of U.S. exports of mica decreasing by 8.3% to $16.3
million as the quantity 51.4 MICAŚ1998 increased by 1.5% to 9,335 tons.
- Imports of mica
declined with the value of U.S. imports of mica decreasing by 0.84% to
$24.7 million and the quantity decreasing by 6.3% to 27,200 tons
- Demand for block
mica is expected to grow slowly through the end of the century as demand
increases in a few specialty markets.
- Markets for
dry-ground mica are forecast to grow by as much as 3% per year through
the year 2005, unless interest rates and prices rise sufficiently to
slow demand for new housing and automobiles.
- Industry stocks of
muscovite mica block (ruby and nonruby) increased to 19.3 tons in 1999
from 16.8 tons in 1998. Industry stocks of muscovite and phlogopite mica
splittings decreased to 411 tons at yearend 1999 from 424 tons at
industrialised countries growth rates are unlikely to exceed 2% -3% pa.
In industrialising countries the prospects for higher rates of growth in
these industries are good for the short to medium
- World sheet mica
capacity was estimated at 16,286 tpa in 1995, with the three major
producers, India, Russia and China, jointly accounting for 94% of the
- China's exports of
mica have increased during the past 5 years from 25,000t in 1990 to an
estimated 44,000t in 1995. Recorded exports by Asian countries exceeded
80,000t in both 1994 and 1995.
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