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

Ampian, Sarkis G.
Clays,   pp. 207-247 ff. PDF (4.1 MB)


Page 207

  207Clays 
By Sarkis G. Ampianh 
 Clays in one or more of six classification categories (kaolin, ball clay,
fire clay, bentonite, fuller's earth, or common clay and shale) were produced
in 46 States and Puerto Rico during 1979. Clay production was not reported
in Alaska, Hawaii, the District of Columbia, Rhode Island, or Vermont. The
States leading in output were Georgia, 8.3 million tons; Texas, 3.9 million
tons; Wyoming, 3.5 million tons; and North Carolina and Ohio, 3.4 million
tons each; followed in order by Alabama, and California. Georgia also led
in total value of clay output with $437.6 million; Wyoming was second with
$75.0 million. Compared with 1978 figures, clay production increased in 17
States and value increased in 3~l States. Total quantity of clays sold or
used by domestic producers in 1979 was 4% lower; total value rose 18% to
an alitime high. Increases in value per ton were reported for all clays in
1979 owing to increased labor, fuel, and material costs. The energy crisis,
or more specifically, the increasing shortage and costs of fuels, continued
to cause considerable concern among clay producers and clay product manufac
turers. Industrywide efforts were made both to economize and to obtain standby
fuels. The costs of environmental protection equipment and environmental
restrictions and rising capital costs also continued to adversely affect
production during 1979. 
 Production of the specialty clays, kaolin, ball clay, and fuller's earth
all increased with the exception of bentonite and fire clay, which, together
with common clay and shale, showed decreased production. A small downturn
in construction that lowered demand for building materials (brick, lightweight
aggregate, vitrified clay pipe, clay floor and wall tile, etc.) was responsible
for the decline in production of common clay and shale. Production of kaolin
increased 11%; ball clay, 5%; and fuller's earth, 3%. Bentonite and fire
clay decreased 1% and 6%, respectively, largely because of a downturn in
the economy which lowered the demand for steel products and refractories.
 Kaolin in 1979 accounted for only 14% of the total clay production but for
55% of the value. 
Table 1.—Salient clay and clay products statistics in the United
States'
(Thousand short tons and thousand dollars) 
1975 
1976 
1977 
1978 
1979 
Domestic clays sold or used by producers: 
Quantity                          
Value                             
Exports: 
Quantity                          
 Value                            Imports for consumption: 
 Quantity                          
 Value                            Clay refractories, shipments: Value   
        Clay construction products, shipments: Value — —
—
49,047 
$424,556 
2,315 
$120,298 
 38 
$1,947 
$409,879 
$655,779 
52,389 
$528,745 
2,487 
$151,953 
 39 
$1,814 
$448,471 
$783,644 
53,196 
$579,170 
2,561 
$160,790 
 36 
$1,917 
$465,442 
$993,508 
56,822 
$717,274 
2,665 
$194,914 
 25 
$2,082 
$497,567 
$1,158,278 
54,689 
$846,089 
3,205 
$243,722 
 51 
$3,972 
$580,257 
$1,179,058 
' Excludes Puerto Rico. 


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