Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals and minerals 1978-79
Year 1978-79, Volume 1 (1978-1979)
Phosphate rock, pp. 677-697 ff. PDF (2.4 MB)
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.
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