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

Burgin, Lorraine B.
Utah,   pp. 519-534 PDF (1.9 MB)


Page 519

  519The Mineral Industry of Utah 
This chapter has been prepared under a Memorandum of Understanding between
the 
Bureau of Mines, U.S. Department of the Interior, and the Utah Geological
and Mineral 
Survey, for collecting information on all nonfuel minerals. 
By Lorraine B. Burgin1 
The value of nonfuel mineral production in Utah continued to rise throughout
the 1978-79 biennium. In 1978, the value of nonfuel materials was 552.6 million;
and in 1979, the value climbed to $753.4 million reflecting higher prices
in almost all minerals. Although the amount of production increased in many
commodities, the rise was not as extensive as the increase in value. 
Metals, mainly from Kennecott Copper Corp., Utah Copper Div., accounted for
over three-fourths of Utah's nonfuel minerals production in both years; and
copper accounted for about one-half of that total value. Recovered principally
as byproducts of copper production, gold, molybdenum, and silver contributed
nearly one-fifth of the value of nonfuel mineral output in Utah in 1978,
and almost one-fourth of that value in 1979. Beryllium, copper, gold, and
molybdenum increased in amount and value in 1978-79. Lead and zinc production
declined dramatically when two mines were closed in 1978. Silver, recovered
as an important byproduct of those base metal operations, dropped in production;
however, the total value of the commodity enjoyed a marked increase in 1979
because of the soaring price of silver 
In 1979, Utah ranked first in the Nation in value of gold and beryllium produced,
second in value of copper, and third in value of molybdenum. As a lead-producing
State, Utah, in 1979, dropped from 4th to 12th place; and as a zinc-producing
State, the drop was from 10th place to 19th, last place among the States.
The price of zinc had maintained a steady low level and did not 
serve as a stimulus for increasing production. 
In the nonmetals group, leading commodities in both years included cement,
potash, salt, and sand and gravel. Increases were noted in value of cement,
clay, gypsum, phosphate, potash, salt, and stone. 
Legislation and Government Programs.—During the biennium, the mining
industry became increasingly concerned over the land status situation, particularly
when studies by the Forest Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of
Land Management (BLM) resulted in proposals for additional wilderness areas
and subsequent withdrawal of these areas from prospecting, exploration, and
mining. By 1978, the Forest Service Roadless Area Review and Evaluation (RARE
II) program had inventoried nearly 3 million acres. In that year, areas in
Utah proposed by the Forest Service for wilderness designation included 455,000
new acres of wilderness in addition to the 323,000 acres of wilderness and
primitive areas proposed under earlier legislation. An additional 149,000
acres were proposed for further study, and 2.1 million acres were proposed
for release from further wilderness review and returned to multiplemanagement.
The National Park Service, in 1978, completed its recommendations to Congress
on 1.2 million acres in all national parks and monuments in Utah, except
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. 
Under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, BLM was to review
all roadless areas of 5,000 acres and more, and all BLM-administered lands
of whatever size to determine which areas should re 


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