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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals and minerals 1978-79
Year 1978-79, Volume 1 (1978-1979)

Lynd, Langtry E.
Zirconium and hafnium,   pp. 1021-1031 ff. PDF (1.3 MB)


Page 1021

eE~t~ata. ~ w withheld to avoid disclosing com~ny proprietary data. 
' Includes baddeleyite: 1975.e1,~)() tons; 197~e1~)0() tons; 1977- 1,500
tons; 197~e1,600 tons; 1979e1,600 tons. 2Excludes foundries. 
3Excludes oxide produced by zirconium metal producers. 
  1021Zirconium and Hafnium 
By Langtry E. Lynd' 
 Zircon production by domestic' mining companies decreased 18% in 1978 and
5% in 1979, mainly because of mine shutdowns by Titanium Enterprises in 1978,
and b~ Humphr/eys Mining Co. in 1979. Zircon exports decreased and imports
increased in 1978-1979, with domestic consumption up slightly over the 2-year
period. Production and shipments of zirconium mill products fell 10% in 1978
and 15% in 1979 because of slow demand for nuclear powerplant construction.
Demand for hafnium strengthened, partly because of the increased use of hafnium-columbium
carbide in cutting-tool alloys. 
 Zircon continued to be in oversupply, despite a reduction of inventories
in Australia which was partly offset by increasing production of both standard
and premium grade zircon from the new Richards Bay heavy minerals operation
in the Republic of South Africa. 
 Zircon use was largely in foundry sands, refractories, abrasives, ceramics,
and as a source of zirconium metal. The metal was used mostly in nuclear
reactors, corrosionresistant equipment for industrial plants, and refractory
alloys. Hafnium was used in 
nuclear reactors, flashbulbs, refractory alloys, and cutting-tool alloys.
 Legislation and Government Programs.— There were no stockpile
goals
for zirconium and hafnium materials. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
had an inventory as of December 31, 1979, of approximately 319 tons of zirconium
sponge, 829 tons of zirconium ingots and shapes, 4 tons of zirconium scrap,
31 tons of hafnium crystal bar, 8 tons of hafnium ingots and shapes, 5 tons
of hafnium oxide, and 1 ton of hafnium scrap. 
 The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) of the State of Oregon stated
that Teledyne Wah Chang Albany (TWCA) has made great progress in cleaning
up its wastewater discharges, having reduced the amount of ammonia going
into the Willamette River from 20,000 pounds per day several years ago to
400 pounds per day in late 1979.2 A new TWCA air pollution permit recommended
by DEQ earlier in 1979 may allow production of zirconium oxide above the
previous, 50,000-pound-per-day limit, subject to additional State approval.~
The Oregon State legislature passed a bill in 1979 which holds in abeyance
until 1981 
Table 1.—Salient zirconium statistics in the United States 
Product 
(Short tons) 
 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 
Zircon: 
  Production w w w w w 
  Exports 18,766 9,428 14,364 7,671 8,856 
  Imports 40,205 64,643 65,204 91,009 110,842 
  Consumptione 1 122,000 155,000 162,000 164,000 168.000 
  Stocks, yearend, dealers' and consumers'2 37,033 38,625 r26,052 e38,3~7
e37,531 
Zirconium oxide: 
  Production3 11,760 8,000 7,414 e8,605 e11130 
  Producers'stocks,yearend3 1,745 667 r718 e931 e809 


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