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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook area reports: domestic 1978-79
Year 1978-79, Volume 2 (1978-1979)

Krempasky, G. T.; Lawson, Don C.
Montana,   pp. 315-327 ff. PDF (1.3 MB)


Page 315

The Mineral Industry of 
Montana 
This chapter has been prepared under a Memorandum of Understanding between
the 
Bureau of Mines, U.S. Department of the Interior, and the Montana Bureau
of Mines and 
Geology for collecting information on all nonfuel minerals. 
By George T. Krempasky' and Don C. Lawson2 
 The value of nonfuel mineral production in Montana was $206 million in 1978
and $291 million in 1979. The accumulated value of produced metals —
antimony, copper, iron ore, gold, lead, silver, tungsten, and zinc —
accounted for 58% of the State's total nonfuel mineral production value in
1978. By comparison, the previous year's accumulated value of produced, metals
accounted for 63% of the total. In 1979, the value of Montana's metal production
increased nearly 58%, compared with that of 1978. The accumulated value of
the State's production of nonmetals — barite, cement, clays, fluorspar,
gem stones, gypsum, lime, peat, phosphate rock, pumice, sand and gravel,
stone, talc, and vermiculite — accounted for 42% of the total nonfuel
mineral production value in 1978. During the previous year, the accumulated
value of nonmetals production was 37% of the total. In 1979, the value of
nonmetal production increased more than 18%, compared with that of 1978.
 Compared with the value of other States' production, the value of Montana's
production ranked in the top five in 1978-79 for the following commodities:
vermiculite, talc, antimony, copper, and silver. 
 Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) reached a provisional settlement with the
U.S. Federal Trade Commission that permitted ARCO to retain the Anaconda
Co. The settlement required ARCO to divest itself of some of Anaconda's holdings;
these were the Heddleston copper and molybdenum deposit near Lincoln, Mont.,
the Ann 
Mason and Bear ore deposits near Yerington, Nev., a 20% interest in Inspiration
Copper Co., and a 50% interest in Anamax Mining Co. 
 During 1979, Anaconda's copper smelter in Anaconda and the copper smelter
of ASARCO Inc. in East Helena were shut down for 1 month for lack of feed.
Montana's mineral processing plants continue to be dependent upon out-of-State
sources for raw materials. The ASARCO smelter received over 90% of its feed
from out-ofState, and more than 50% of the feed for the Anaconda Co.'s smelter
and refinery at Great Falls came from out-of-State. Anaconda's aluminum plant
in Columbia Falls received all of its alumina from outside the State, and
the Stauffer Chemical Co.'s phosphate plant in Silver Bow County received
all of its phosphate rock from Idaho. 
 The Montana Department of State Lands issued a hard rock operating permit
for ASARCO'S Troy project, an underground copper-silver mine with related
ore processing facilities. The mine's life was estimated at 16 years, and
ASARCO expected to produce 60,000 short tons of ore concentrates per year
from the project. A total of 64 million short tons of ore containing 0.74%
copper and 1.54 ounces of silver per ton had been delineated. 
 Proposed Federal actions related to revising or abolishing the General Mining
Act of 1872 have resulted in controversy, as have U.S. Forest Service Roadless
Area Review and Evaluation (RARE II) studies, and U.S. 
315 


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