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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals and minerals 1977
Year 1977, Volume 1 (1977)

Meisinger, A. C.
Diatomite,   pp. 371-373 ff. PDF (238.8 KB)


Page 371

  371Diatomite 
By A. C. Meisinger1 
US. production of processed diatomite in 1977 increased 3% in quantity and
16% in value compared with that of 1976. Filtration, with 59% of domestic
demand, continued to be the major use for diatomite 
during the year. Exports of processed thatomits, as in 1976, increased and
again represented 24% of domestic production. 
Imports, however, declined substantially from the record year of 1976. 
DOMESTIC PRODUCTION 
Production of domestic processed diatomite in 1977 was 648,043 tons valued
at $64 million. Compared with that in 1976, production increased 3% in quantity
and 16% in value. 
US. output came from four Western 
States: California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, of which, California
diatomite operations accounted for 61% of the national total. The Kansas
operation of NL Industries, Inc., was shutdown in 1977, but 15 mine and plant
facifities were in operation by the following producers: JohnsManville Sales
Corp. at Lompoc, Calif.; Grefco, Inc. (Dicalite Div.), at Lompoc, Calif.,
and Mina, Nev.; Excel-Minerals Co., 
Taft, Calif.; Airox Earth Resources, Inc., Santa Maria, Calif.; Eagle-Picher
Industries, Inc., Sparks and Lovelock, Nev.; Cyprus Mines Corp., Fernley,
Nev.; American Fossil, Inc., Christmas Valley, Oreg.; and Inorganic Specialties
Div. Witco Chemical Corp., Quincy, Wash. 
Witco Chemical Corp. held dedication ceremonies (October 18, 1977) for its
new diatomite-processing plant at Quincy, Wash.2 The company, through its
Inorganic Specialties Division, mines diatomaceous earth in Grant County,
about 19 miles from the new plant site. The highly automated plant will enable
Witco to substantially increase its production of Kenite diatomite products,
particularly ifiter aids. 
Table 1.—Diatomite sold or used by producers in the United States
1973 
1974 
1975 
1976 
1977 
Domestic production (sales) short ton&. -Averagevalueperton     
608,906 
$59.26 
664,303 
$76.31 
572,582 
$80.01 
631,380 
$87.08 
648,043 
$98.56 
CONSUMPTION AND USES 
Consumption of diatomite increased 3% compared with that of 1976. With the
exception of diatomite used for pozzolans, lightweight aggregates, and fertilizer
coatings, all end uses increased in 1977, with ifitration accounting for
59% of domestic domand. Other major uses were fillers and 
insulation. Other end uses for diatomite (table 2) included abrasives, absorbents,
additives, admixtures, carriers, and coating agents for numerous applications,
primarily in the agricultural, chemical, and construction industries. 


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