Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook metals, minerals, and fuels 1972
Year 1972, Volume 1 (1972)
Ryan, J. Patrick
Lead, pp. 695-725 ff. PDF (3.0 MB)
695Lead By J. Patrick Ryan1 World production and consumption of lead reached record levels and achieved a near balance in 1972. Free world mine production increased about 1% with most of the net gain coming from the United States and Peru. Refined lead production was up nearly 2% with most of the major producing countries contributing to the increase. Consumption of metal rose 4%, the largest annual increase since 1969. The near balance between metal production and consumption brought relatively stable world market prices, particularly in the London Metal Exchange (LME) quotation. The average LME cash price published by Metals Week in terms of U.S. currency increased from 11.40 cents per pound in January to 14.51 cents in March, and generally declining thereafter to 13.98 cents in December. The average equivalent LME price in 1972 was 13.68 cents. The average U.S. producers' price after rising 1.6 cents to 15.60 cents in the first 5 months trended lower thereafter to 14.50 cents in December. The average domestic price of lead on a nationwide delivered basis in 1972 was 15.03 cents per pound. The domestic lead industry again achieved significant gains in both mine production and consumption. Refinery production also increased continuing the rising trend of recent years after a falloff in 1971, which was attributed to a reduction in imports of crude materials for processing at domestic plants. Both mine and refinery production of lead reached the highest levels since 1929 with respective gains of about 7% over 1971 output. The 40,360-ton net increase in domestic mine output was achieved as gains in Missouri and Colorado more than offset declines in Idaho and Utah. Secondary lead output of 616,600 tons, representing about 39% of the market supply, was nearly 20,000 tons more than the 1971 output. The apparent domestic supply of lead consisting of pri mary, secondary, and imports (table 1) amounted to 1.57 million tons, 104,000 tons more than that of 1971. Demand for lead in transportation uses continued to grow as requirements for batteries and gasoline antiknock compounds increased 7% and 5%, respectively. The quantity of lead used in battery manufacture reached a record high, and lead used in antiknock additives was only slightly below the record achieved in 1970. Lead used in pigments, reversing a 3-year decline, increased 10% in 1972. Of the total lead consumption of 1.48 million tons, batteries accounted for 49%; antiknock compounds, 19%; ammunition, 6%; pigments, 6%; and solder, 5%. Stocks of refined and antimonial lead at primary plants increased from 52,190 tons at the beginning of the year to 64,500 tons at yearend. Consumer and secondary stocks declined from 125,600 tons at the beginning of the year to 118,500 tons at yearend. Commercial sales and transfers for government use, totaling about 49,800 tons, reduced the uncommitted government stockpile of lead to 1,077,600 tons at yearend. St. Joe Minerals Corp. dosed its Federal mine in October after 50 years of continuous operation thus phasing out mining operations in the Old Lead Belt of Southeast Missouri. Legislation and Government Programs. —Commercial sales of surplus lead by General Services Administration (GSA) from the Government stockpile and transfers for government use totaled 49,825 tons in 1972 compared with only 12 tons in 1971. The disposals were authorized under Public Laws 91—46 and 89—9. Public Law 92—356 enacted on July 26 authorized 498,000 tons for disposal; 100,000 tons was authorized earlier under Public Law 91—46. 1 Mining engineer, Division of Nonferrous Metals.
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