Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Area reports: domestic 1978-79
Year 1978-79, Volume 2 (1978-1979)
Krempasky, George T.; Hull, Donald A.; Gray, Jerry J.
Oregon, pp. 439-448 PDF (1.1 MB)
439The Mineral Industry of Oregon This chapter has been prepared under a Memorandum of Understanding between the Bureau of Mines, U.S. Department of the Interior, and the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries for collecting information on all nonfuel minerals. By George T. Krempasky,1 Donald A. Hull,2 and Jerry J. Gray3 Oregon's nonfuel mineral production was valued at $129 million in 1978 and $165 million in 1979. Nonmetals—cement, clay, diatomite, gem stones, lime, pumice, sand and gravel, stone, and talc—accounted for more than 90% of the production value for both 1978 and 1979. During 1978, expanding construction activities resulted in increased demands for cement that could not be met by Oregon cement producers; additional supplies had to be imported from neighboring States and foreign sources. The two existing plants operated at nearly full capacity; output was considerably higher than the average of the last 5 years. By late 1979, supply and demand were again in balance because of production from a new third plant. Metals—copper, gold, nickel, and silver— accounted for less than 10% of the nonfuel mineral production values during the 2 year period. Oregon remained the only domestic source of primary nickel; output fluctuated during 1978 because of a weak commodity market and plant repair problems. During 1979, the market became stronger and output was steady. Trends and Developments.—Oregon's mineral and metallurgical industry is diversified and adds stability to the State's economy. The industry mined and processed nonmetallic and metallic minerals, and reduced and refined exotic metals. It operates rela tively free of Federal or State subsidies, locates its own resources, develops mines and facilities with its own money, and sells products that benefit the general economy. Exploration programs were conducted for chromium, gold, iron, mercury, molybdenum, nickel, and silver in geologically favorable environments. Demand for construction minerals—cement, pumice, crushed stone, and sand and gravel—increased and will continue to do so. In addition, areas mined for construction materials have been used for other purposes after mining ceased. For example, in the City of Bend, in central Oregon, former pumice pits are used for home construction sites and landscaped areas. The State's mined land reclamation program will continue to nurture increases in mined land rehabilitation and redevelopment. Oregon's processing of mineral commodities to usable products is also expected to increase. Occidental Chemical Co., a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum Corp., has begun to acquire permits necessary to build a $25 million fertilizer importing, mixing and transhipment facility at St. Helens, on the Columbia River below Portland. The plant is expected to receive up to 200,000 tons of ammonia yearly from the U.S.S.R., and an additional amount from Alaska. It will also handle large quantities of urea, potash, and other fertilizer materials.
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