Although Turkey had a wide variety of minerals, its resources were only partially developed. Turkey was the world's largest producer of boron, accounting for half of world output, and was known for such industrial minerals barite, celestite (strontium), clays, emery, feldspar, limestone, magnesite, marble, perlite, pumice, and trona (soda ash). Other minerals actively exploited and marketed were copper, chromite, iron ore, sulfur, pyrite, manganese, mercury, lead, zinc, and meerschaum. Mining (of coal, chromite, copper, and boron) was Turkey's fourth-leading industry in 2002, followed by steelmaking, petroleum, and construction. The primary mineral sector's contribution to GDP has been in the 1.1–1.5% range; total revenues of the mineral industry (primary and processed mineral commodities, including refined petroleum products and steel) contributed 10%, and accounted for two-thirds of Turkey's manufacturing output. Turkey was a significant exporter of borates and steel, and also exported chromite, copper, zinc, and a wide variety of industrial minerals and derived chemicals; exports of crude mine and quarry materials accounted for 1.4% of Turkey's total exports in 2000, and those of processed mineral commodities accounted for 16%. Among crude minerals, copper exports earned $221 million ($180 million in 1999); dimension stone, $189 million ($151 million in 1999); and borates, $108 million ($123 million in 1999).
Production of copper (metal content) in 2000 was 76,053 tons, up from 40,000 in 1998; dolomite, 957,182 tons; limestone (other than for cement), 30.3 million tons, down from 52.4 million tons in 1998; marble, 647,160 cu m, compared to 739,240 in 1999 and 275,000 in 1996; quartzite, 2.74 million tons; chromite (gross weight), 545,725 tons, down from 1.7 million tons in 1997 (70% was salable); boron concentrates, 1.45 million tons, down from 1.65 million tons in 1998; bauxite from the public sector, 458,537 tons (30,000 tons per year were produced by the private sector); feldspar, 1.15 million tons; iron ore (metal content), 2.45 million tons, down from 3.2 million tons in 1998 and 3.5 million tons in 1996; celestite strontium concentrates, 25,000 tons; and meerschaum, 500 kg, down from 10,350 kg in 1989. Eskisehir, in northwestern Anatolia, was the world center of meerschaum (sepiolite)—Turkey was famous for its meerschaum pipes. Also produced in 2000 were alumina, antimony, gold, lead, manganese, silver, alumina sulfate (alunite), barite, hydraulic cement, clays (including bentonite and kaolin), emery, fluorspar, crude glass, graphite, gypsum, lime, magnesite, nitrogen, perlite, pumice, cupreous pyrite, sand and gravel, silica sand, sodium compounds (salt, soda ash [trona], and sodium sulfate), stone (basalt, diabase, granite, onyx, sandstone, serpentine, slate, and travertine), sulfur, talc, and zeolite. No zinc or cadmium was produced in 2000
Despite the divestment of a large portion of the state-owned minerals sector holdings, to domestic and foreign investors, the government remained a significant factor in most sectors of the minerals industry, through shareholdings in a number of private companies and various state-owned industrial corporations. In recent years, the government has been encouraging mineral exports as well as domestic and foreign private mining investment. Ongoing privatization costs were expected to result in layoffs and the closure of inefficient operations. Most of the nation's 3,000 mines were small. Resources of metallic commodities minable by large-scale methods were known for bauxite, chromite, copper and copper-zinc, gold, iron, and silver.