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

Foster, Russell J.
Salt,   pp. 751-762 PDF (1.1 MB)


Page 751

 Salt  751 
By Russell J. Foster1 
 The amount of domestically produced salt sold or used by U.S. producers
decreased to 42.9 million tons in 1978, but made a strong recovery to 45.8
million tons in 1979. The quantity of all types of salt sold or used increased
in 1979 in contrast to the previous year, when only solar salt exhibited
a gain. Imports exceeded 5 million tons each year. 
 Legislation and Government Programs.—The Bureau of Mines has funded
a cooperative agreement with the Solution Mining Research Institute to identify
the mechanics and causes of sinkholes and to develop methods and design criteria
for preventing or predicting sinkhole occurrence at salt solution mines.
 The Mine Safety and Health Administration reclassified four Louisiana rock
salt mines as "gassy" in 1979 because of detected levels of methane.
These
operations 
must now comply with additional safety regulations regarding permissible
equipment and blasting procedures. 
 A report by a select scientific committee on the health effects of sodium
as a food additive was presented to the Food and Drug Adp~inistration (FDA).
The committee recommended a reduction in sodium chloride consumption by the
population. If FDA concurs, sodium would be subject to regulations covering
processed food additives, which could lead to limits on the amount of salt
in foods or requirement of label disclosure. 
 The U.S. Department of the Interior has selected Virginia Beach, Va., and
Alamogordo, N. Mex., as the first two sites for predesign studies of major
desalination demonstration plants using state-of-the-art technology. 
Table 1.—Salient salt statistics 
(Thousand short tons and thousand dollars) 
1975 
1976 
1977 
1978 
1979 
United States: 
Production'                               
41,710 
43,801 
42,922 
42,878 
46,317 
Sold or used by producers'                   Value                      
Exports                                 Value                           
41,030 
$368,063 
1,332 
$9,070 
44,191 
$430,959 
1,007 
$10,326 
43,412 
$451,579 
1,008 
$10,881 
42,869 
$499,345 
776 
$9,795 
45,793 
$538,352 e793 
$9,489 
Imports for consumption                    Value                        
 Consumption, apparent                     World: Production            
 3,215 
$15,272 
42,913 
178,207 
 4,352 
$23,476 
 47,536 r176305 
 4,529 
$26,694 
46,933 
174,567 
 5,380 
$34,247 
47,473 
180,505 
 5,275 
$40,860 
e50275 
184,958 
 eEstimath rSovised 
 ' Excluding Puerto Rico: Estimated 27,000 short tons per year (197579).
DOMESTIC PRODUCTION 
 The quantity of domestic salt sold or used by producers in 1978 decreased
to 42.9 million tons, with only solar salt showing a gain. In 1978, 50 companies
operated 90 saltproducing plants in 17 States. Thirteen of 
the companies sold or used over 1 million tons each, accounting for 85% of
the U.S. total. 
 Domestic producers sold or used 45.8 million tons of salt of their own production
in 


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