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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook area reports: domestic 1972
Year 1972, Volume 2 (1972)

Woodmansee, Walter C.
California,   pp. 111-144 PDF (3.4 MB)

Page 111

  111The Mineral Industry of California 
This chapter has been prepared - under a cooperative agreement between the
Bureau of Mines, U.S. Department of the Interior, and the California Department
of Conservation, Division of Mines and Geology, for the collection of mineral
 - By Walter C. Woodniansee' 
For the first time since 1960, total value of mineral production in California
declined, following the record high of 1971. Although unit prices were higher
for a number of mineral commodities, a lower level of activity for several
minerals led to decreased values. 
A large variety of minerals was produced in the State. Among them, California
was of national prominence as a producer of crude petroleum and petroleum
refinery products, natural gas, asbestos, boron mm. erals, cement, construction
materials (days, sand and gravel, stone), diatomite, magnesium compounds,
rare-earth (bastnaesite) concentrate and metals, and tungsten concentrate.
During 1972, significant increases in output were recorded for nonmetals
including asbestos, boron, diatomite, gypsum, magesium compounds, pumice,
sand and gravel, and talc, and, among the metals, for copper, gold, molybdenum
concentrate, rare earth minerals and metals, and tungsten concentrate. 
Output of crude oil, which was by far the most important product in terms
of output value, accounting for half the total values continued in a decline.
Similarly, value of natural gas output, which accounted for an additional
10% of total value, also was lower. Significant decreases were also recorded
for bromine, calcium compounds, cement, clays, feldspar, lithium compounds,
potash, salt, stone, iron ore, lead, mercury, silver, and zinc. 
Oil and gas exploration wa.s adversely affected by more stringent regulations
conceming the environment, particularly in State and Federal offshore areas,
where potential for new reserves was considered good. A few oil and gas discoveries
were announced, 
but none was of sufficient importance to reverse the downward trend in production
and reserves. 
New facilities were installed or under construction to meet environmental
standards at several operations. In the petroleum industry, progress was
made in practices for combatting oil spills in coastal waters and in rehabilitation
of land oil sumps. Dust abatement was of continuing concern at operations
for asbestos, boron, cement, clays, diatomite, gypsum, magnesium compounds,
sand and gravel, and stone. 
Legislation and Government Programs°.— The following principal
legislation directly or indirectly affecting the mineral industry in California
was passed by the 1972 Regular Session of the State Legislature and signed
into law by the Governor, effective March 7, 1978 (61 days after final adjournment
of the Legislature): 
Assembly Bill (AB) 901—Provided revisions to State mining law; eliminated
requirement for location work on lode and placer mining daims, thereby reducing
surface damage; sought better property descriptions by requiring that affidavits
for labor performed and property improvement show location by section, township,
range, and meridian~ decreased incidence of daim falsification by ruling
willful false statement a misdemeanor. 
AB 2064—Established State mining and minerals policy; authorized State
Geologist to conduct investigations in mining and 
 1 Physical scientist, Division of Nonferroun Metals—Mineral Supply.
 2Compiled largely from data provided by William H. Kerns, Bureau of Mines
Liaison Officer, Sacramento, Calif. Legislation and programs relating to
a specific mineral commodity are cited in the appropriate subsection of the
Review of Mineral Commodities section of this chapter. 

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