Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals, minerals, and fuels 1972
Year 1972, Volume 1 (1972)
Wells, J. Robert
Talc, soapstone and pyrophyllite, pp. 1191-1199 ff. PDF (988.5 KB)
Table 1.—Salient talc, soapstone, and pyrophyllite statistics (Thousand short tons and thousand dollars) 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 United States: Mine production Value Sold by producers Value Exports~ Value Imports for consumption Value Apparent consumption World: Production 958 6,656 886 22,968 66 3,521 24 973 844 4,796 1,029 7,508 985 26,294 69 3,713 20 749 936 5,162 1,028 7,773 948 25,980 105 5,739 30 1,294 873 5,316 1,037 7,634 979 26,936 136 4,844 17 745 860 5,207 1,107 7,835 1,084 33,709 171 5,791 29 1,669 942 5,252 ' Excludes powders—talcum (in package), face, and compact. 1191Talc, Soapstone, and Pyrophyllite By J. Robert Wells' Total U.S. production of talc, soapstone, and pyrophyllite (known collectively as the talc-group minerals) was greater in 1972 than in any previous year, almost half again as much as a decade ago in regard to both tonnage and total value. American Talc Co., Inc., previously operating only in Alabama, extended its talc mining to Montana with the acquisition in 1972 of the Willow creek mine in Madis~n County. Johns-Manville Corp. (headquarters now in Denver, Cob.) acquired the California properties of L. Granthain Corp. at midyear. Grantham, operating the Warm Springs mine and grinding facilities in the southwestern part of Death Valley, Inyo County, was for many years one of the largest producers of high-quality talc in the United States. Talcum powder, the familiar and best known form in which talc is used, was unjustly stigmatized in the August 1972 deaths of a number of infants in FTance. After inves~igation, it was determined that the tragedy was the result of an excessive quantity of a bactericide that had been added to the powder. Some industrial talc producers and users were experiencing an increasingly difficult situation in 1972 because of the close mmcralogical relationship between talc and a group of other minerals, some of which may become carcinogenic under conditions involving long-continued inhalation. No authoritative distinction has ever been drawn between talc and ~remo1ite, a substantial proportion of which is known to be present in some grades of fibrous talc. That ambiguity and a tendency to regard tremolite as a form of asbestos, in combination with growing. emphasis on environmental and health considerations, began to plant doubts concerning industrial talc's hitherto unquestioned classification as an essentially harmless and. unrestrictedly usable raw material. Legislation and Government Programs.— The Defense Materials Inventories prepared by General Services Administration (GSA) showed that Government holdings as of December 31, 1972, included 1,180 short tons of talc (steatite, block or lump), with a market value of $383,500, and 3,900 short tons of talc (steatite, ground) valued at $21;400. Of the block or lump steatite, 980 short tons was listed as excess inventory, as was also the entire quantity of ground material. During calendar 1972, 24 tons of block material, valued at $7,800, was sold from stockpile inventory, but none of the ground talc was disposed of. 1 Physical scientist, Division of Nonmetallic Minerals.
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