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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)


Page 1335

  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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