University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Ecology and Natural Resources Collection

Page View

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

Stowasser, W.F.
Phosphate rock,   pp. 677-697 ff. PDF (2.4 MB)


Page 677

  677Phosphate Rock 
By W. F. Stowasser' 
 Record tonnages of 50 and 51.6 million metric tons of marketable phosphate
rock were produced in the United States in 1978 and 1979, respectively. The
matrix or ore was strip mined, except for that recovered from an underground
mine in Montana. The ore was beneficiated or was of sufficiently high grade
to use direct in either electric furnaces, wet process phosphoric acid plants,
or in normal superphosphate manufacturing plants. The phosphate rock was
used to produce fertilizer, animal feed supplements, and a large number of
chemicals and industrial products. 
 During 1978, a cabinet level review of nonfuel minerals policy was initiated
under the President's Domestic Policy Review System. Phosphate rock was selected
as one of the minerals to be reviewed. A Minerals Review Committee considered
the projected levels of supply, demand, and price; the probability of interruption
of foreign or 
domestic supply; the causes of supply and price problems, and the projected
impacts of short- and long-term supply problems on the conduct of U.S. foreign
policy. The status of U.S. reserves, production capacity, and inventories
on future possible supply or price problems were to be studied with economic
and social consequences of these problems define& 
 The General Accounting Office (GAO) issued a report "Phosphates: A
Case
Study of a Valuable Depleting Mineral in America" on November 30, 1979.
The
report discusses the problems and long lead times involved in phosphate mine
development in the United States and as the richest deposits in Florida will
be depleted in the next two decades, there is concern as to how new resources
may be developed to meet the Nation's agricultural needs. GAO recommended
that high levels of government review the impediments limiting access to
Table l.—Salient phosphate rock statistics 
(Thousand metric tons and thousand dollars) 
1975 
1976 
1977 
1978 
1979 
United States: 
Mine production  Marketable production                   
Value                            
 Average per metric ton           Sold or used by producers             
Value                            
 Average per metric ton           Exports'                             
170,077 
44,276 
$1,122,184 
$25.35 
42,120 
$1,052,995 
$25.00 
11,131 
154,278 
44,662 
$949,379 
$21.26 
40,522 
$857,189 
$21.15 
9,433 
166,893 
47,256 
$821,657 
$17.39 
47,437 
$829,084 
$17.48 
13,230 
173,429 
50,037 
$928,820 
$18.56 
48,774 
$901,378 
$18.48 
12,870 
185,757 
51,611 
$1,045,655 
$20.26 
53,063 
$1,063,517 
$20.04 
14,358 
 P3O5content                       
 Value                            
 Average per metric ton           Imports for consumption2              
 Value                            
 Average per metric ton           Consumption, apparent                 
World: 
3,587 
$429,222 
$38.56 
33 
$1,578 
$47.82 
31,022 
3,022 
$272,823 
$28.92 
42 
$2,209 
$52.60 
31,131 
4,251 
$288,603 
$21.81 
158 
$6,079 
$38.47 
34,365 
4,118 
$297,357 
$23.10 
908 
$24,379 
$26.85 
36,812 
4,611 
$356,481 
$24.83 
886 
$21,595 
$24.37 
39,591 
Production                           
108,000 
108,000 
117,000 
125,000 
e128,000 
e~tjma~ 
' Exports reported to the Bureau of Mines by companies. 2Bureau of the Census
data. 
3Measured by sold or used plus imports minus exports. 


Go up to Top of Page