So why are borate minerals important? Borate minerals
are used as a component of detergents and aid in stain removal and
bleaching. Borates make up part of the non-stick coating on pots and
pans. When borates are added to glass or enamel, they increase heat
resistance, making the material less likely to crack. For example, the
heat-resistant tiles which cover the Space Shuttle contain borate
components and even laboratory beakers use boric-oxide to make them heat
Boron, which is extracted from borate
minerals, if mixed with plastics is used to make fiber optics. It is
added to steel to make the metal capable of withstanding high pressures.
Boron is also used in the agricultural business as a plant nutrient.
There are different types of borate minerals that
are used including borax (sodium borate), colemanite (calcium borate),
kernite (sodium borate), ulexite (sodium calcium borate), pricetite
(calcium borate) and proberitite ( sodium calcium borate).