Industrial minerals are not the first natural resources people associate with Iraq, but they could play a significant role in diversifying its economy from oil and gas.
While the troubled Middle Eastern state hosts the worlds fourth largest proven reserves of oil, the government is keen to exploit its largely-untapped and diverse mineral reserves.
During Septembers Iraq Mining 2011 conference in London, the US Geological Survey (USGS), along with its Iraqi counterpart Geosurv, revealed the results of an in-depth study into the countrys resources.
Most notably, Iraq was found to have the worlds second largest phosphate rock reserves after Morocco, along with significant sulphur, limestone, high-purity silica sand, and salt deposits.
There are also a number of interesting mineral development projects being touted as investment opportunities for overseas parties in phosphoric acid, sodium sulphate, soda ash, feldspar, and high grade silica sand.