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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals and minerals 1977
Year 1977, Volume 1 (1977)

Collins, Cynthia T.
Iron oxide pigments,   pp. 499-505 ff. PDF (697.5 KB)


Page 499

  499Iron Oxide Pigments 
By Cynthia T. Collins1 
 Production and trade in finished iron oxide pigments continued to rise in
1977. Increased construction and dUrable goods production during the year
stimulated demand for~ pigments in building materials and coatings of all
kinds. The $73.9 million value of finished iron oxide pigment sales and the
$20.6 million valUe of imports indicated a $94.5 million market in 1977,
compared with an $81 million market in 
1976. 
 Ground was broken in September for Mobay Chemical Corp.'s $50 million iron
oxide pigment plant at New Martinsville, W.Va. The 45,000-ton-per-year-capacity
plant will be the largest single iron oxide pigment facility in the United
States when completed in 1981. Completion of the initial stage is planned
for the third quarter of 
1978. Iron oxide will be produced by the aniline-based process of Mobay's
parent company, Bayer AG of the Federal Republic of Germany. The process,
which involves reduction of nitrobenzene to aniline with iron, reportedly
is economical and environmentally sound. 
 Meramec Mining Co. ceased production at its Pea Ridge mine near Sullivan,
Mo., on December 23.2 The company, a joint venture of Bethlehem Steel Corp.
and St. Joe Minerals Corp., mined iron ore principally for production of
iron and steel; they also produced, as a byproduct, a high-purity magnetite
concentrate ("M-25 Oxide") which was sold for use in ferrite manufacture.
St. Joe Minerals Corp. continued production of M-25 Oxide from stocks of
crude ore at the Pea Ridge plant. 
Table 1.—Salient iron oxide pigments statistics in the United States
1973 
1974 
1975 
1976 
1977 
Mine production short tons.. — 
W 
W 
r43,335 
r66,848 
59,233 
Crude pigments sold or used do — — — 
W 
W 
r40154 
r59,636 
55,953 
 Value thousands_ 
Iron oxides from steel plant wastes — — - —
short tons..
— 
   Value thousands..Finished pigments sold short tOns.. —   Value
thousands
—Exports short tons._   Value thousands —Imports for
consumption
short tons. —   Value thousands._ 
$931 
NA 
NA 
148,802 
$43,514 
9,888 
$3,101 
51,183 
$12,005 
$1,429 
W 
W 
147,544 
$60,612 
9,666 
$3,466 
54,215 
$16,367 
$1,093 
19,252 
$1,102 
104,840 
$46,206 
8,780 
$2,523 
27,979 
$9,184 
$1,263 
21,403 
$1,258 
135,915 
$64,506 
5,805 
$3,353 
50,102 
$16,554 
$1,600 
20,824 
$1,638 
140,707 
$73,851 
6,493 
$4,065 
58,694 
$20,596 
r~~ed NA Not available. W Withheld to avoid disclosing company proprietary
date. 
DOMESTIC PRODUCTION 
 Production of finished iron oxide pigments, as measured by sales, increased
3.5% over that of 1976. Production of natural iron oxides remained very close
to that of the previOus year, while synthetic pigment production increased
by nearly 7%. Production of synthetic blacks, browns, and reds all showed
gains, but yellows declined following a large increase in 1976. 
 The value of overall sales was up 14.5%; this partly reflected increases
in average unit values for both natural and synthetic pigments of about 9%
in 1977. The average unit value of synthetic pigments was more than five
times greater than that of natural oxides. 
 Table 2 reflects sales data compiled from responses by 19 companies (see
table 3) to 


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