Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals, minerals, and fuels 1972
Year 1972, Volume 1 (1972)
Ampian, Sarkis G.
Zirconium and hafnium, pp. 1335-1346 PDF (1.3 MB)
1335Zirconium and Hafnium By Sarkis G. Ampian' Zircon production and sales by domestic mining companies were about 20% greater in 1972 than in 1971. Zircon exports increased 84% from 9,429 tons in 1971 to 17,360 tons in 1972 while imports decreased 30% from 96,387 short tons in 1971 to 67,537 short tons in 1972. Exports of zirconium oxide, zirconium metal, and zirconium alloys all rose in 1972. Production of zirconium-bearing compounds for chemicals and refractories also increased. Zircon consumption by foundries declined nearly 20%, from 116,000 short tons in 1971 to 92,000 tons in 1972. However, foundry consumption of zircon was increasing at yearend. Legislation and Government Programs.— The Statistical Supplement to the Stockpile Report to Congress, December 31, 1972, showed no objectives for zirconium and hafnium materials. Stocks of 15,998 tons of Brazilian baddeleyite and 1 ton of zirconium metal powder are in excess. The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) had an inventory as of June 30, 1972, of approximately 1 ton of zirconium crystal bar and scrap, 1,063 tons of zirconium sponge, 84 tons of Zircaloy ingot and shapes, 2 tons of hafnium scrap, 47 tons of hafnium oxide, 1/2 ton of hafnium sponge and shapes, and 39 tons of hafnium crystal bar. Table 1.—Salient zirconium statistics in the United States (Short tons) Product 1968 1969 1970 1971 i91'2 Zircon: Production W W W W W Exports 2,026 Imports 59,900 Consumptione ' 143,000 Stocks, yearend, dealers and consumers 2 46,000 Zirconium oxide: 5,395 95,414 ' 160,000 53,000 4,335 94,759 ' 145,000 52,000 9,429 96,387 ' 166,000 42,500 17,360 67,537 ' 168,000 44,500 Production $ 3,864Producers' stocks, yearend' 1,077 5,702 1,005 4,957 1,050 10,770 680 12,020 942 Estimate. W Withheld to avoid disclosing individual company confidential data. 1 Includes baddeleyite: 1968—200 tons; 1969—383 tons; 1970—355 tons; 1971—871 tons; 1972—385 tons. ' Exclud~ foundries. Excludes oxide produced by zirconium metal producers. DOMESTIC PRODUCTION E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., and Titanium Enterprises, Inc., a new producer, were the only major producers of zircon mineral concentrate in the United States. Zircon was recovered from mineral sands at the dredging and milling facilities owned by du Pont at Starke, Fla., by Humphreys Mining Co. for du Pont, near Folkston, Ga., and Titanium Enterprises at Green Cove Springs, Fla. Production data were withheld from publication to avoid disclosing individual company confidential data. The combined zircon capacity of these three plants is estimated to be 125,000 tons per year. Statistical data on production of zirconium sponge, ingot, and scrap and on hafnium sponge and oxide are also withheld to avoid disclosure of company confidential data. Zirconium powder, zirconium-base alloys, and zirconium sponge metal production were relatively unchanged from those 1 Physical scientist, Division of Nonmetallic Minerals.
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