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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook 1990
Year 1990, Volume 2 (1990)

McClaskey, Jacqueline A.; Smith, Stephen D.
Survey methods and statistical summary of nonfuel minerals,   pp. 1-40 ff. PDF (4.4 MB)

Page 1

By Jacqueline A. McClaskey and Stephen D. Smith 
 Ms. McClaskey, an Operations Research Analyst with 5 years of Government
experience, has been with the U.S. Bureau of Mines Branch of Statistics and
Methods Development since 1990. 
 Mr. Smith, Mineral Data Assistant in the Branch ofData Collection and Coordination,
was assisted in the preparation of the Statistical Summary by Sarah P. Guerrino,
Chief, Section of Ferrous Metals Data; Imogene P. Bynum, Chief, Section of
Nonferrous Metals Data; Barbara E. Gunn, Chief, Section of Industrial Minerals
Data; and William L. Zajac, Chief, Section of International Data. 
 The U.S. Bureau of Mines Information and Analysis Directorate collects worldwide
data on virtually every commercially important nonfuel mineral commodity.
These data form the base for tracking and assessing the health of the minerals
sector of the U.S. economy. 
 The Bureau' s data collection activity was instituted by the 47th Congress
in an appropriations act ofAugust 7, 1 882 (22 Stat. 329), which placed the
collection of mmeral statistics on an annual basis. The most recent authority
for the U.S. Bureau of Mines survey activity is the National Materials and
Minerals Policy, Research and Development Act of 1980 (Public Law 96479,
96th Congress). This act strengthens protection for proprietary data provided
to the U.S. Department of the Interior by persons or firms engaged in any
phase of mineral or mineral-material production or consumption. 
Data Collection Surveys 
 The Bureau begins the collection of domestic nonfuel minerals and materials
statistics by appraising the information requirements of Government and private
organizations of the United States. Information needs that can be satisfied
by data from the minerals industries are expressed as questions on U.S. Bureau
ofMines survey forms. Figure 1 shows a typical survey form. 
 Specific questions about the production, consumption, shipments, etc., of
mineral commodities are structured in the survey 
forms to provide meaningful aggregated data. Thus, the entire mineral economic
cycle from production through consumption is covered by 169 monthly, quarterly,
semiannual, annual, and biennial surveys. After the survey form has been
designed, a list of the appropriate establishments to be canvassed is developed.
Many sources are used to determine which companies, mines, plants, and other
operations should be included on the survey mailing list. U.S. Bureau of
Mines State Mineral Officers, State geologists, Federalorganizations (e.g.,
Mine Safety and Health Administration), trade associations, industry representatives,
and trade publications and directories are some ofthe sources that are used
to develop and update survey listings. With few exceptions, a complete canvass
of the list of establishments is employed rather than a sample survey. The
iron and steel scrap industry is one of the exceptions where a sample survey
is conducted. 
 The Paperwork Reduction Act requires that any Government agency wishing
to collect information from 1 0 or more people first obtain approval from
the Office of Management and Budget (0MB). 0MB approves the need to collect
the data and protects industry from unwarranted Govemment paperwork. 
Survey Processing 
 Approximately 26,000 establishments yield more than 50,000 responses to
169 surveys annually. Each completed survey form returned to the Bureau undergoes
extensive scrutiny to ensure the highest possible accuracy of the mineral
data. The 
statistical staff monitors all surveys to ensure that errors are not created
by reporting in physical units different from the units requested on the
form. Relationships between related measures, such as produced crude ore
and marketable crude ore, are analyzed for consistency. Engineering relationships,
such as recovery factors from ores and concentrates, are also employed. The
totals for each form are verified, and currently reported data are checked
against prior reports to detect possible errors or omissions. 
 For the majority of the surveys, which are automated, the forms are reviewed
to ensure that data are complete and correct before entering into the computer.
The computer is programmed to conduct a series of automated checks to verify
mathematical consistency and to identify discrepancies between the data reported
and logically acceptable responses. 
 The U.S. Bureau of Mines is modernizing and automating all of its survey
processing and data dissemination functions. Automated commodity data system
functions include computerized preparation of statistical tables; the use
of desktop publishing to integrate text and tables; and the implementation
ofa microcomputer bulletin board, known as MINES-DATA, for electronic dissemination
of minerals data. 
Survey Responses.—To enable the reader to beuer understand the
on which the statistics are calculated, each commodity annual report includes
a section entitled "Domestic Data Coverage." This section briefly
the data sources, the numher ofestablishments surveyed, the response 

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