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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)


Page 341

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 
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