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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Area reports: domestic 1978-79
Year 1978-79, Volume 2 (1978-1979)

Harrison, Donald K.; Maher, Stuart W.
Tennessee,   pp. 487-499 ff. PDF (1.2 MB)


Page 487

  487The Mineral Industry of 
Tennessee 
This chapter has been prepared under a M'emorandum of Understanding between
the 
Bureau of Mines, U.S. Department of the Interior, and the Tennessee Division
of 
Geology, for collecting information on all nonfuel minerals. 
By Donald K. Harrison1 and Stuart W. Maher2 
 The value of Tennessee's nonfuel mineral production in 1978 and 1979 was
$346.8 million and $385.7 million, respectively. In 1979, the State was the
Nation's leading producer of zinc, ball clay, and pyrite; third in ferroalloys;
and fourth in phosphate rock. In terms of value, stone continued to be the
leading commodity produced. Primary metals, chemicals, and glass products
were important mineral-related industries in the State. 
Trends and Developments.—During 1978 
and 1979, the mineral industry was active in exploration for, and development
of, zinc and fluorspar deposits in the State. 
 Jersey Miniere Zinc Co. continued developing the Gordonsville zinc mine
and began operating a new electrolytic zinc refinery at Clarksville in late
1978. The new $210 million refinery, with ~a rated capacity of 90,000 short
tons per year of slab zinc, received concentrates from the company's Elmwood
mine in 1978 and 1979. The refinery is expected to be supplemented by the
Gordonsville mine when development work is completed. A new 9,000-short-ton-perday
concentrator was also completed at Gordonsville. 
 In 1978, Carthage Zinc Co., a joint venture between St. Joe Mineralj Corp.
and Freeport Minerals Co., began underground exploration at the Carthage
zinc project near the city of Carthage. Exploration continued into 1979.
 New Jersey Zinc continued development of the Beaver Creek and Lost Creek
zinc 
mines in the Mascot-Jefferson City district. 
 In late 1977, ASARCO Incorporated closed the Coy and New Market mines in
the Jefferson City-Mascot district because of ample inventories and the depressed
zinc market. Both mines were reopened in 1979, but strikes during the year
disrupted production. 
 In 1979, Exxon Minerals Co., U.S.A., continued exploration work at the Sugar
Creek zinc prospect near Gainesboro. Final results of its work were not announced.
 Cities Service Co. closed down its iron pellet facility at Copperhill in
early 1979, although the company continued mining and milling copper and
continued its chemical operations. 
 In 1978, U.S. Borax began an assessment of its large barite-fluorite-zinc
deposit in the Sweetwater district, in eastern Tennessee. The company was
still evaluating the project in 1979. 
 Legislation and Government Programs.—In 1977, the Forest Service
of
the U.S. Department of Agriculture initiated its Roadless Area Review and
Evaluation (RARE II) program. The program identified roadless and undeveloped
land areas in the National Forest System suitable for wilderness use. In
1978, three areas in the Cherokee National Forest, in eastern Tennessee,
were evaluated. Bald River Gorge (3,887 acres) was nominated for wilderness
status. An additional 38,100 acres were designated for further planning,
and approximately 91,000 acres were recommended for nonwil 


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