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

Absalom, Sandra T.
Boron,   pp. 119-129 ff. PDF (1.2 MB)


Page 119

  119Boron 
By Sandra T. Absalom1 
 U.S. production and sales of boron minerals and chemicals climbed to record
high levels in 1978 and 1979. Markets for energysaving materials, spurred
by rising fuel prices and the national energy conservation program, were
responsible for the strong derived demand for borates in insulation products
and glass-fiber-reinforced plastics. Glass-fiber insulation (glass wool)
continued to be the largest end use for borates, followed by textile-grade
glass fibers, and special borosilicate glasses. Demand for borates in cellulosic
insulation (paper wool) declined from its 1977 peak, but began to grow again
in 1979. 
 California was the domestic source of 
boron minerals, which were mostly in the form of sodium borate, but also
as calcium borate and sodium-calcium borates. Notwithstanding the fact that
most domestic borate markets were the strongest ever, the United States continued
to provide most of its own supply while maintaining its position as the primary
source of sodium borate products and boric acid to foreign markets. 
 Supplementary U.S. imports of Turkish calcium and sodium-calcium borate
ores, primarily for textile-grade and insulationgrade glass fiber manufacture,
respectively, nearly doubled in 1978, but declined in 1979 when shipments
ceased following nationalization of private Turkish mines. 
Table 1.—Salient statistics of boron minerals and compounds in
the
United States 
(Thousand short tons and thousand dollars) 
1975 
1976 
1977 
1978 
1979 
Sold or used by producers: 
 Quantity: 
 Grossweight                         
1,172 
1,246 
1,469 
1,554 
1,590 
Boron oxide (B203) content               
603 
630 
735 
778 
799 
Boroncontent                        
188 
196 
228 
242 
248 
Value                                
$158,772 
$184,852 
$236,163 
$279,927 
$310,211 
Exports: 
 Sodium borates (refined):' 
 Quantity                            
 Value                             Boric acid:2 
 212 
$42,486 
 211 
$49,156 
 265 
$64,634 
 304 
~ 
 332 
e$94,0nf~ 
 Quantity                            
 Value                             Imports for consumption: 
 Colemanite: 
 34 
$11,532 
 36 
$12,363 
 36 
$12,931 
 46 
$22,217 
 42 
$22,938 
Quantity                            
28 
30 
51 
394 
~81 
 Value                             Boric acid: 
$1,560 
$1,953 
$3,695 
$9,320 
$10,946 
Quantity                            
(4) 
(4) 
14 
16 
8 
 Value                             Apparent consumption: Boron content5 
$59 
85 
$14 
94 
$5,596 
 121 
$8,921 
 128 
$4,267 
 127 
e38t~ate 
' Comparable quantities of crude sodium borates are exported also; however,
export data are not available. 2lncludes orthoboric and anhydrous boric acid.
' Includes approximately 23,000 tons of ulexite in 1978 and 10,000 tons in
1979. 
4Less than 1/2 unit. 
' Measured by domestic boron sold or used plus imports. 


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