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In recent years, U.S. regulatory agencies have placed emphasis on identifying and regulating asbestos dust exposures in the mining environment, with a particular focus upon industrial mineral deposits in which asbestos occurs as an accessory mineral. Because asbestos minerals form in specific geologic environments, only certain predictable types of industrial mineral deposits can potentially host asbestos mineralization. By applying a basic knowledge of asbestos geology, the costly and time consuming efforts of asbestos monitoring and analyses can be directed towards those mineral deposit types most likely to contain asbestos mineralogy, while saving efforts on the mineral deposits that are unlikely to contain asbestos. While the vast majority of industrial mineral deposits in the Western United States are asbestos-free, there are several types that can, in some instances, host asbestos mineralization, or be closely associated with it. These industrial mineral deposits include a few types of aggregate, dimension, and decorative stone, and some deposits of chromite-nickel, magnesite, nepheline syenite, olivine, rare earth elements, talc, vermiculite, and wollastonite.
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The geologic relationships of industrial mineral deposits and asbestos in the western united states
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SME Annual Meeting and Exhibit and CMA's 111th National Western Mining Conference 2009