Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals, minerals, and fuels 1972
Year 1972, Volume 1 (1972)
McMahon, Albert D.; Hague, John M.; Babitzke, Herbert R.
Zinc, pp. 1299-1333 ff. PDF (3.6 MB)
1299Zinc By Albert D. McMahon,' John M. Hague,2 and Herbert R. Babitzkel The producing segments of the domestic zinc industry operated at low levels in 1972, but the use of zinc almost reached the record high of 1966. A large number of small and intermittent -producing mines active in 1971 were idle in 1972, and several significant operations closed, which resulted in an - annual production loss of 24,000 short -tons. The num-ber of mines reporting zinc production to the Bureau of Mines declined from 214 in 1970 to 142 in 1971 and 68 in 1972. The new zinc-copper mine in Maine, byproduct zinc from the Brushy Creek mine in Missouri, and the coming expansion of the Balmat mine in New York -should reverse the decline in U.S. mine production of recen-t years. The closure of a slab-zinc-producing plant, the largest electrolytic zinc refinery in the United States, a 17% drop in zinc concentrate imports and decreased mine production were the principal reasons for the 140,000 ton decline in smelter production during 1972. This loss of supply was pardaily replaced by releases of slab zinc from the national stockpile authorized by Public Law 92—283. Substantial increases in demand for most all use categories were in response to greater industrial activity in 1972. The automotive, construction, and appliance industries, the major consumers of zinc for diecastings, galvanizing, and brass and bronze products - all improved over 1971. Demand followed the seasonal pattern, -increasing each month to a high in May, receding during the vacation months of June and July, rising again -to a peak for the year in October, then declining -for the last 2 months. Record quantities were used: Galvanizing reached a record high; 1972 was the third largest year for zinc diecastings; and for brass products, 1972 was surpassed only by -the World War II years, 1941 through 1945. General Services Administration (GSA) sales of zinc during the first 3 months of 1972 depleted the balance authorized under Public Law 89—322. New legislation for the release of an additional 515,200 tons became law in the latter part of April after negotiations between GSA and primary producers developed an agreeable disposal plan. Approximately 190,000 tons were committed from May -through December. Revisions of the disposal plan will allow depletion of the -balance by the end of the first quarter of 1974. Total imports (zinc in concentrates plus metal) increased to 777,500 tons, 17% higher than those of 1971: The zinc content of imported concentrates dedined 26% and imports of metal totaling 522,600 tons were up 64%. Throughout 1972 the price of domestically produced Prime Western zinc was controlled by the Price Commission. It a!lowed increases of 1 cent and 1/2 cen:t per pound in April—May and December respec -tively, raising the ceiling price to 18.5 cents per pound. Foreign zinc sold in the United States commanded at least a 1 cent premium as Australian, Canadian, Mexican, and Peruvian producers increased the price of their zinc in the United States some time prior to the raises allowed U.S. producers by the Price Commission. Legislation and Government Programs.— The GSA sold 20,580 -tons of zinc during the first quarter of 1972. This zinc was all that remained under the authorization of Public Law 89—322 enacted November 4, 1965, for disposal of 200,000 tons of zinc from the national stockpile. On April 26, 1972, the President signed Public Law 92—283 authorizing release of approximately 515,000 short tons of zinc over a period of years of which 440,000 tons was to be released through primary domestic producers and 75,000 tons was for sale by 1 Physical scientist, Division of Nonferrous Metals. 2 Mining engineer, Division of Nonferrous Metals.
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