Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals and minerals 1978-79
Year 1978-79, Volume 1 (1978-1979)
Kostick, Dennis S.; DeFilippo, Ronald J.
Fluorspar, pp. 341-357 ff. PDF (1.9 MB)
Fluorspar By Dennis S. Kostick and Ronald J. DeFilippo' Shipments of domestically produced fluorspar continued a third year of decline in 1979, reaching the lowest level in over 40 years. The pattern of fluorspar consumption remained nearly unchanged from 1978 except in the steel industry, where there was a decline in total production. The United States depended on imports to supply over 85% of its fluorspar requirements in 1978- 1979. Mexico was the largest supplier of fluorspar to the United States, followed by the Republic of South Africa Italy and Spain. Legislation and Government Programs.—Due to continued uncertainty over the role of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's) in the depletion of stratospheric ozone, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) required that effective February 20, 1978, certain "nonessential" aerosol spray products that contain CFC's were to carry a warning label. The label advised consumers that the use of CFC's was potentially harmful to the ozone layer.2 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); CPSC; Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; and the Food and Drug Administration then ordered a ban on the manufacturing and packaging of such products effective December 15, 1978, and the total removal of these products from interstate commerce effective April 15, 1979.~ EPA later emphasized that CFC's could not be used in the aerosol products covered by the ban even when the CFC's were part of the product mix and not serving as the main propellent.~ Stockpile goals established by the Federal Preparedness Agency and General Services Administration in late 1976 remained in effect. The goal for acid-grade fluorspar was set at 1 594 000 tons for metallurgical grade fluorspar, the goal was set at 1,914,000 tons. However no acquisition plans for bringing the stockpile inventories up to goal levels were announced. The Bureau of Mines conducted research at its Albany (Oregon) Metallurgy Research Center to develop production technology for the manufacture of synthetic fluorspar from waste fluosilicic acid, a byproduct of phosphoric acid production. The Bureau also test the effectiveness of synthetic fluorspar as a slag conditioner for electric and basic oxygen furnaces (BOF) in steelmaking and for cupola furnaces in ironmaking. As in years past, a 22% depletion allowance was granted against Federal income tax, applied to the mining of domestic reserves, compared with a 14% allowance for foreign reserves. DOMESTIC PRODUCTION Shipments of finished fluorspar from domestic mining operations fell to 129,428 short tons in 1978 and 109,299 tons in 1979, which was the third consecutive year of declining shipments. Illinois was the leading producing State in 1978 and 1979 and accounted for almost 90% of all U.S. shipments. Shipments of acid-grade fluorspar in 1978 accounted for 58% of the U.S. total, nearly the same portion as in 1977. Due to the low number of acid-grade fluorspar producers operating in 1979, statistics on shipments and stocks were withheld to avoid revealing company proprietary data. In Illinois, the Ozark-Mahoning Co. operated four mines in Hardin County: The Knight, near Rosiclare, the Oxford No. 7 and Heavy Media Plant Shaft in the Cavein-Rock area, and the Barnett, the only active fluorspar mine in Pope County. The 341
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