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

Schroeder, Harold J.; Jolly, James H.
Copper,   pp. 329-370 PDF (4.8 MB)

Page 330

57 cents for December. Meetings held during the year by the Intergovernmental
Council of Copper Exporting Nations (CIPEC) and by copper producer and consumer
nations under United Nations sponsorship failed to agree on ways to reduce
copper market instability. 
 In the United States, consumption of refined copper increased for the second
year of recovery from the severe slump in 1975 and was only slightly below
the 1974 level of consumption. Mine production of recoverable copper, affected
by strikes and production cutbacks, declined significantly. Strikes by copper
workers at many producing units, starting June 30, were of much shorter duration
than was generally anticipated and did not result in a material reduction
of the prestrike buildup of inventories. The buildup of inventories along
with reduced consumption in the latter half of the year led to production
curtailments, some mine closures, and a serious unemployment situation in
the domestic copper mining industry. Various market factors resulted in domestic
producer prices for refined cathode copper increasing in three steps, from
65 cents per pound at the start of the year to 74 cents in mid-March, then
decreasing in four steps between May and August to 60 cents, and followed
by an advance to 63 cents in mid-December. 
 Legislation and Government Programs.—The stockpile goal of 1,299,000
tons of copper, established by the Federal Preparedness Agency (FPA) in 1976,
remained in effect. No program has been announced for purchases against the
new goal. However, 20,261 tons from the previous stockpile that remained
unused from transfers to other Government agencies were transferred back
into the new stockpile. 
 The U.S. Department of Commerce amended Schedule A of Defense Materials
System Order 4 to revise the base period and the set-aside percentages for
coppercontrolled materials. The amendment changes the base period from calendar
year 1975 to calendar year 1976, and the setaside percentages from 7% to
4% on unalloyed rod, bar, shapes, and wire; from 10% to 6% on alloy seamless
tube and pipes; and from 3% to 2% on copper foundry products. 
 Import duties on copper ores, concentrates, blister, and refined copper
remained at 0.8 cent per pound. The duty remained suspended on copper and
copper-base scrap through June 1981. 
 The Generalized System of Tariff Preferences (GSP), which was implemented
in 1976, in accordance with Title V of the Trade Act of 1974, remained in
effect. The system consists of duty-free treatment for a period up to 10
years, on a wide range of designated articles imported directly from any
developing country designated as a beneficiary developing country (BDC).
All copper items imported from BDC's have been granted GSP status. There
are a number of limitations to the program such as the provision that a country
does not receive GSP coverage if the imports of a particular article from
that country exceeded $25 million during the previous calendar year. This
provision is reviewed every year for possible changes. The review for 1977,
with respect to copper, resulted in denial of duty-free treatment for refined
copper from Peru, Yugoslavia, Zambia, and Chile; black and blister copper
from Chile; copper matte from Botswana; and copper wire from Chile. Duty-free
status will be restored for cement and blister copper from Peru, and for
cupronickel plates from Mexico. 
 Mine Production—Domestic mine production of recoverable copper
1.5 million tons, a 6% decrease from 1976. Principal copper producing States
were Arizona, with 61.491 of the total, Utah (12.9%), New Mexico (11%), Montana
(5.7%), Nevada (4.5%), and Michigan (2.8%). These States accounted for 98.3%
of total production. The decrease in production was the result of a copper
worker's strike in midyear at most of the major operations lasting for periods
of a few days to 10 weeks, post-strike shutdowns, reduced work schedules
and some mine closings. 
 Open pit mines accounted for 83% of mine output and underground mines accounted
for 17%. The production of copper from dump and in-place leaching, mainly
recovered by precipitaion with iron, was 134,215 tons or 9% of mine output.
Total mine production of copper recovered by leaching methods was 264,962
 The Anaconda Company mine production of copper decreased approximately 5%

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