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

Arndt, Robert H.; Burchett, Raymond R.
Nebraska,   pp. 329-336 PDF (836.9 KB)


Page 333

 THE MINERAL INDUSTRY OF NEBRASKA 333 
from the manufacturers. About 75% of the cement was shipped by truck; almost
all of the remainder went by rail. 
 Clays..—.Nebraska's small clay output fluctuated in the 5 years
(1975-79).
Production increased modestly in 1979 from that of 1978, the lowest in the
5-year period. Meanwhile, the value of produced clay increased during the
biennium to the highest level of the period. This was a consequence of almost
steady growth in the unit value of clay from just over $2 per ton in 1975
to almost $3 per ton in 1979. Four producing firms mined common clay and
shale in Cass, Douglas, Jefferson, Lancaster, and Sarpy Counties in the southeastern
part of the State. Face brick and common brick were manufactured in Douglas,
Lancaster, and Sarpy Counties. 
 Lime.—Output of lime by Great Western Sugar Co. during the biennium
was less than that in the 3 previous years. The value of lime also fell below
that of 1975 and fluctuated irregularly during 1976-79. In 1979, lime values
rose to the highest level experienced after 1975. Lime was prepared in kilns
at the firm's sugar plants at Bayard, Scottsbluff, Gering, and MitchelL The
output of lime relates generally to the size of the sugar beet crop to be
processed to sugar at the firm's four plants, where lime is used to generate
carbon dioxide and as a purifier in the refining process. Limestone for the
industry came from the firm's quarry~near Horse Creek, Wyo., and from a commercial
supplier in the vicinity of Rapid City, S. Dak. The firm requires stone that
contains a minimum of 95% calcium carbonate. 
 Sand and Gravel.—Sand and gravel led all raw mineral commodities
produced
in Nebraska during the biennium both in quantity and value. Although output
in the biennium was reduced from that of 1977, it exceeded by far that output
in 1975 and 1976. The value of the output, on the other hand, experienced
continued growth during the biennium to more than $33 million in 1979, almost
twice the total value in 1975. Growth in value was supported by the increase
in output and the increase in the average unit price of sand and gravel from
nearly $1.50 per ton in 1975 to $2.04 per ton in 1979. The combined output
from Douglas, Saunders, Hall, Cass, Madison, and Buffalo Counties in 1978,
and the output from Douglas, Saunders, Dodge, and Hall Counties in 1979 exceeded
35% of the State's total output of sand and gravel each year. One hundred
and sixty-five firms produced 
sand and gravel in 1978. In 1975, 153 firms were active. That year, two firms
supplied about 30% of the State's sand and gravel, and more than 50% of the
State's output came from the combined output of seven firms. Sand and gravel
was recovered in 69 counties in 1978-79, from 263 deposits in 1978 and 237
deposits in 1979. Individual company output both years ranged from less than
200 tons to more than 2 million tons. Fifty percent of the output of sand
and gravel in 1978 was from deposits that yielded less than 100,000 tons
during the year. In 1979, about 40% of the output came from 
206 deposits that supported operations in the same size range. By contrast,
almost 35% of the output in 1978 came from deposits that individually yielded
over 200,000 tons; in 1979, 14 deposits in that production category provided
nearly 40% of the State's total output. Thirty-four deposits yielded 100,000
to 200,000 tons in 1978, and 17 had similar yields in 1979. The distribution
of streams and associated deposits of sand and gravel in streambeds, flood
plains, and alluvial terraces relate directly to production. Sand and gravel
operations are prominent along the Platte, Republican, Niobrara, Elk Horn,
Blue, Big Sandy, and many other rivers, and in the interstream areas along
the northern border of the State and in the western part of the State. Almost
58% of the State's total tonnage and 56% of the value of sand and gravel
produced in 1978 were derived from counties that adjoin the Platte River.
Output increased in 1979 to more than 68% of the State total and almost 66%
of the value. Combined output of sand and gravel from counties adjacent to
the Republican and Platte Rivers was about 66% of the State's total output
in 1978 and almost 72% of that in 1979. Relatively large production from
the counties adjacent to the Platte and Republican Rivers was achieved because
of the abundant presence of the materials, the presence of at least 11 of
the major cities in Nebraska, including Omaha, in those counties, and to
the traditional use of the Platte valley as an eastwest corridor across the
State for construction and maintenance of railways and highways. These factors
supported abundant construction and heavy demands for sand and gravel, a
primary construction material. Major uses of sand and gravel are as aggregates,
roadbases, fill, concrete products, plaster and gunite sands, snow and ice
control, and railroad ballast. Construction aggregates, the largest single
use, required almost 49% of the total output in 1978 and 


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