Most minerals are mined for industrial or construction purposes, to be burned, smelted, or combined. However, agriculture makes a claim on certain minerals, described briefly here. Plants need sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water to grow. But, they also need nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), none so easily available. The abbreviation using their chemical symbols, NPK, is a rating found on bags of fertilizer that supply these minerals.
Plants additionally need calcium, magnesium, and sulfur in meaningful quantities. Trace minerals required by plants include boron, chlorine, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, and zinc.
The importance of agricultural minerals can be seen as more and more people require more and more food each year:
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