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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook 1990
Year 1990, Volume 2 (1990)

Harrison, Donald K.; Sinnott, Joseph A.
Massachusetts,   pp. [246]-252 ff. PDF (758.9 KB)

Page 248

 Under the State Mining and Mineral Resources Research Institute Program
Act (Public Law 98-409), the U.S. Bureau of Mines awarded a basic allotment
grant of $145,000 to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to conduct
research and training in the mineral-related disciplines. In addition to
the allotment grant, $125,745 was provided for studies of respirable dust
for a total of $270,745. Under stipulations of the act, the State of Massachusetts
was required to match this grant on a 2:1 basis. 
 Engineers at the University of Massachusetts were planning to construct
a large-scale solar energy system near the school's Amherst campus utilizing
a large clay deposit as a heat storage medium. The technique, which could
overcome the difficulty of storing solar energy, was explored by the U.S.
Department of Energy in the 1970's as a way to heat homes, but heat leaked
out of the 
~ relatively small system too fast. The 
~ Amherst system's much larger, 100,000- 
~ cubic-meter clay deposit is expected to 
~ retain and give back 85 % of its stored 
~ heat. As planned, heat from the sun will be captured during the summer
utilizing 6 acres of solar collectors. The heated water would then be pumped
through underground pipes that interlace the clay. In the winter, the warm
clay would heat water pumped into the system to 140° F. The heated
would then be pumped to a new convention center on the campus, providing
80 % of the center's heating requirements. The estimated cost of the project
is $3.5 million. 
 Vitrifix of North America Inc., Alexandria, VA, sought approval to open
a plant near Grafton to process waste asbestos by vitrifying asbestos into
glass. If approved, the plant, which would be the first of its kind in the
world, will convert asbestos and glass waste into a hard, reportedly nonhazardous
glass product, using a 2,200° F furnace. Carcinogenic asbestos fibers
are reportedly destroyed at 1,700° F. In addition to receiving local
approval for 
construction of the plant, the company must file an environmental notification
form with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) unit. 
Industrial Minerals 
 Abm.sives (Manufactwed).—Norton Co., the world's leading manufacturer
of abrasives, produced nonmetallic abrasive products at its plant in Worcester.
The company manufactured bonded and coated abrasives primarily used in the
surface conditioning, cutting, shaping, and finishing of many types of materials.
Primary end users included foundries and steel mills, metal fabricators,
glass and ceramic grinders, stonecutters, and the construction industry.
 Clqys.—One company, in Plymouth County, mined common clay for
manufacture of common and face brick. 
 Graphite (Manufactured). —Two companies, both in Lowell, Middlesex
County, produced high-modulus graphite fibers used primarily by the aerospace
 Gypsum (Calcine~O.—Crude gypsum, shipped into the State from companyowned
mines in other States and Nova Scotia, was calcined by USG Corp. at Charlestown
near Boston. The calcined gypsum was made into wallboard and shipped throughout
New England primarily for use in residential construction. 
 Lime.—Two companies continued to produce lime in Berkshire County
from locally quarried limestone. Primary markets for the lime included western
New York and New England, with the majority shipped by truck. 
 In July, groundbreaking began on a 
$13 million upgrading and expansion at 
Pfizer Inc.'s lime plant in Adams. 
Upgrading will include removing existing 
inadequate structures at the plant and 
constructing a new office building and main quality control assurance laboratory,
which will house a totally computerized control system. Obsolete equipment
at the plant will be replaced, and a new carbonator will be built. The new
equipment will enable the Adams plant to double its production of precipitated
calcium carbonate, a high-grade synthetic product used primarily in the paper
industry. Environmental concerns that will be addressed include increasing
restoration of mined-out lands, adding muffling equipment, enclosing other
machinery to reduce noise and dust emissions, and an asbestos abatement program
at the plant. 
 Peat.—Reed-sedge peat was produced by Sterling Peat Inc. , Worcester
County, and was used primarily for agricultural purposes. All of the material
was sold in packaged form. 
 Peñiie (Evjxznded).—Crude perlite, mined in New Mexico,
expanded by Whittemore Perlite Co. Inc. at a plant in Suffolk County. The
expanded perlite was used for insulation, plaster aggregate, and as a horticultural
 Sand and GmveL—Constnjclion.— Construction sand and
gravel production
is surveyed by the U.S. Bureau of Mines for even-numbered years only; data
for odd-numbered years are based on annual company estimates. This chapter
contains actual data for 1988 and 1990 and estimates for 1989. 
 Massachusetts construction sand and gravel statistics are compiled by geographical
districts as depicted by the State map. Table 3 presents end-use data for
the State's three districts. 
 The value of construction sand and gravel accounted for the second largest
portion (40 %) of the State's total mineral value. In 1990, production and
value of construction sand and gravel decreased 8 % and 10 % , respectively,
from 1989 levels. The 1990 output also represented a decrease of 42 % from
the alitime high output of 22.2 million tons produced in 1988. These decreases
were largely 

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