Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals, minerals, and fuels 1972
Year 1972, Volume 1 (1972)
Corrick, John D.
Cobalt, pp. 419-426 PDF (903.7 KB)
419Cobalt By John D. Corrick' Cobalt consumption increased 13% in 1972 compared with that of 1971; this was the first increase in consumption since 1969. Demand for cobalt at the beginning of 1972 was depressed; however, a progressive improvement in demand occurred during the second half of 1972. Consumer stocks, which had reached their lowest level in 5 years during 1971, remained at a low, but relatively stable, level during 1972. Government sales of cobalt from the strategic stockpile were a significant source of supply during 1972 with over 8.6 million pounds sold. Legislation and Government Programs. —General Services Administration (GSA) continued to offer specification-grade and subspecification--grade (Calera material) cobalt metal in various forms for sale during 1972. Sales were on an unrestricted-bid basis except that total sales of specification-grade material were limited to approximately 1 million pounds per month and 500,000 -pounds per bidder per month. Government sales of cobalt for the year totaled 8,629,692 pounds, compared with 901,699 pounds sold in 1971. Of the quantity sold, 5,015,061 pounds was subspeciflcation Calera cobalt, GSA's entire Calera stock. As of December 13, 19'72, total U.S. Government stockpile inventory was 71,499,318 pounds of cobalt. Of this quantity, 67,913,260 pounds was stockpile grade. Table 1.—Salient cobalt statistics (Thousand poun ds of cont ained cobalt) 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 United States: Consumption Imports for consumption 12,998 9,068 15,608 12,911 13,367 12,417 12,500 10,912 14,130 13,915 Stocks, Dec. 31: Consumer Price: Metal,perpound World: Production, mine 2,139 $1.85 41,968 2,191 $1.85—$2.20 43,556 1,890 $2.20 52,590 1,411 $2.20—$2.45 47,908 1,193 $2.45 51,290 DOMESTIC PRODUCTION Domestic production of cobalt-bearing pyrite concentrates was discontinued at the end of 1971, shutting off the only source of domestically mined cobalt. Professional Oil and Management Co. (POM Corp.) and The Hanna Mining Co. agreed to explore and possibly develop the Iron Creek copper-cobalt prospect located in the Salinon-Blackbird mining district of Idaho. The prospect was owned by POM's subsidiary, Sachem Prospects Corp.2 At yearend, the company had driven 615 feet of underground openings, built 500 feet of bulldozer roads, and taken approximately 1,000 feet of core samples. American Metals Climax Inc. (AMAX), through a new division, AMAX Nickel, continued rehabilitation of its Port Nickel, La., refinery. Late in 1972 the company acquired additional acreage which doubled the amount previously owned and increased river frontage from 1,800 to 3,600 feet.3 Tentatively the refinery will begin processing material from the Botswana Bamangwato Concessions nickel-copper project in 1974. In addition -to nickel, the refinery will produce cobalt from other feed materials acquired by AMAX. ' Physical scientist, Division of Ferrous Metals. 2 Mining Journal. Copper-Cobalt Project in the United States. V. 178, No. 7129, Apr. 7, 1972, p. 281. 3Skillings' Mining Review. AMAX Buys More Port Nickel, La., Property. V. 61, No. 47, Nov. 11, 1972, p. 10.
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