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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals, minerals, and fuels 1972
Year 1972, Volume 1 (1972)

Stamper, John W.
Aluminum,   pp. 135-158 PDF (2.4 MB)


Page 135

  135Aluminum 
By John W. Stamper' 
 Consumption of aluminum in the United States increased dramatically, and
the industry's oversupply problem, which was at its worst in 1970 and 1971,
appeared to be ended. Production facilities that had been closed during 1970—71
were reopened, and the operating rate was increased markedly, although output
increased at a slower rate than demand. 
 World demand also increased signifi 
cantly, and the oversupply of the past few years in most countries was eased
somewhat. World output increased 6.4%, compared with an estimated 10% increase
in demand. The largest production increase was in Asia, where Japan produced
about 14% more than in 1971. The world operating rate was 85% of yearend
capacity, compared with an 83% rate during 1971. 
Table 1.—Salient aluminum statistics 
(Thousand short tons and thousand dollars) 
1968 
1969 
1970 
1971 
1972 
United States: 
Primary production          Value                      
Price: Ingot, average cents per pound                       
Secondary recovery            
Exports (crude and semicrude)    
Imports for consumption (crude and semicrude)                 
Consumption, apparent           
World: Production                 
3,255 
1,639,621 
25.6 
817 
351 
* 
793 
4,663 
8,839 
3,793 
2,013,403 
27.2 
901 
575 
558 
4,710 
9,885 
3,976 
2,190,087 
28.7 
781 
612 
468 
4,519 
10,641 
3,925 
2,154,446 
29.0 
816 
293 
690 
5,099 
11,375 
4,122 
2,069,555 
25.0 
946 
329 
794 
5,588 
12,103 
 Legislation and Government Programs. 
—During 1972, 6,125 short tons of primary aluminum was sold from Government
inventories under the long-range disposal contracts between industry and
the General Services Administration that were implemented in December 1965.
The total quantity sold under the program from December 1965 through December
1972 was 623,498 short tons. 
 Contracts between the Government and aluminum producers, covering industry
purchases of surplus aluminum metal from U.S. stockpiles, were amended in
December to provide for the sale of 120,000 tons of metal per year during
the 3-year period beginning July 1, 1972. Annual industry purchases under
the amended contracts after July 1, 1975, were scheduled to decline over
the years through 1990. The aluminum stockpile objective of 450,000 
tons was reduced to zero on December 20, 1972, and the sales could include
the entire quantity of aluminum held in Government inventories which totaled
about 1,263,000 tons. 
 The Bureau of Domestic Commerce 
(BDC), U.S. Department of Commerce, established aluminum set-asides each
quarter during 1972 to meet the estimated requirements of the Department
of Defense, Atomic Energy Commission, National Aer 
- onautics and Space Administration, and related defense programs. The set-aside
for the year was 250,000 short tons, down from 315,000 tons in 1971 and 455,000
tons in 
1970. 
 The Bureau of Customs received information from a domestic firm on April
7, 1972, indicating a possibility that alumi1 Physical scientist, Division
of Nonferrous Metals. 


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