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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook metals, minerals, and fuels 1972
Year 1972, Volume 1 (1972)

Corrick, John D.
Cobalt,   pp. 419-426 PDF (903.7 KB)


Page 419

  419Cobalt 
By John D. Corrick' 
 Cobalt consumption increased 13% in 1972 compared with that of 1971; this
was the first increase in consumption since 1969. Demand for cobalt at the
beginning of 1972 was depressed; however, a progressive improvement in demand
occurred during the second half of 1972. Consumer stocks, which had reached
their lowest level in 5 years during 1971, remained at a low, but relatively
stable, level during 1972. Government sales of cobalt from the strategic
stockpile were a significant source of supply during 1972 with over 8.6 million
pounds sold. 
 Legislation and Government Programs. 
—General Services Administration (GSA) 
continued to offer specification-grade and 
subspecification--grade (Calera material) 
cobalt metal in various forms for sale during 1972. Sales were on an unrestricted-bid
basis except that total sales of specification-grade material were limited
to approximately 1 million pounds per month and 500,000 -pounds per bidder
per month. Government sales of cobalt for the year totaled 8,629,692 pounds,
compared with 901,699 pounds sold in 1971. Of the quantity sold, 5,015,061
pounds was subspeciflcation Calera cobalt, GSA's entire Calera stock. 
 As of December 13, 19'72, total U.S. Government stockpile inventory was
71,499,318 pounds of cobalt. Of this quantity, 67,913,260 pounds was stockpile
grade. 
Table 1.—Salient cobalt statistics 
(Thousand poun 
ds of cont 
ained cobalt) 
1968 
1969 
1970 
1971 
1972 
United States: 
Consumption                       Imports for consumption               
12,998 
9,068 
15,608 
12,911 
13,367 
12,417 
12,500 
10,912 
14,130 
13,915 
Stocks, Dec. 31: Consumer             
Price: Metal,perpound                 
World: Production, mine                    
2,139 
$1.85 
41,968 
2,191 
$1.85—$2.20 
43,556 
1,890 
$2.20 
52,590 
1,411 
$2.20—$2.45 
47,908 
1,193 
$2.45 
51,290 
DOMESTIC PRODUCTION 
 Domestic production of cobalt-bearing pyrite concentrates was discontinued
at the end of 1971, shutting off the only source of domestically mined cobalt.
Professional Oil and Management Co. (POM Corp.) 
and The Hanna Mining Co. agreed to explore and possibly develop the Iron
Creek copper-cobalt prospect located in the Salinon-Blackbird mining district
of Idaho. The prospect was owned by POM's subsidiary, Sachem Prospects Corp.2
At yearend, the company had driven 615 feet of underground openings, built
500 feet of bulldozer roads, and taken approximately 1,000 feet of core samples.
 American Metals Climax Inc. (AMAX), through a new division, AMAX Nickel,
continued rehabilitation of its Port Nickel, La., refinery. Late in 1972
the company acquired additional acreage which doubled the amount previously
owned and increased river frontage from 1,800 to 3,600 feet.3 Tentatively
the refinery will begin processing material from the Botswana Bamangwato
Concessions nickel-copper project in 1974. In addition -to nickel, the refinery
will produce cobalt from other feed materials acquired by AMAX. 
 ' Physical scientist, Division of Ferrous Metals. 2 Mining Journal. Copper-Cobalt
Project in the United States. V. 178, No. 7129, Apr. 7, 1972, p. 
281. 
 3Skillings' Mining Review. AMAX Buys More Port Nickel, La., Property. V.
61, No. 47, Nov. 11, 1972, p. 10. 


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