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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals and minerals 1978-79
Year 1978-79, Volume 1 (1978-1979)

Cammarota, V. Anthony, Jr.; Lucas, John M.; Gorby, Barbara M.
Zinc,   pp. 981-1019 ff. PDF (3.8 MB)


Page 982

1,510 
1,000 
500 
U.S. MINE PRODUCTION 
SLAB ZINC 
I I I 
198b 
 1960 1965 
Figure 1.—Trends in supply and consumption in the United States.
1970 
982 MINERALS YEARBOOK, 1978-79 
slowed in the second half of the year. 
 Quoted prices for Prime Western Grade zinc increased from 29 cents per pound
in February 1978 to 40.5 cents in mid-1979, but by yearend had fallen to37~5
cents. Producer stocks rose significantly in 1979, while consumer stocks
declined somewhat. 
 Legislation and Government Programs.—The stockpile goal for zinc
remained
at 1,191,134 tons through 1979. 
 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued final regulations limiting
the content of pollutants including zinc, in effluents from ore mining and
milling operations. The maximum zinc content was set at 1.5 milligrams per
liter per day for mine drainage and two-thirds that amount for mill effluent.
These regulations, effective July 11, 1978, represent the degree of control
achievable by the application of the best practicable control technology
available. In its economic analysis, EPA did not expect the regulations to
affect significantly prices, production, and capital availability, and expected
little impact on the local economies or balance of trade. 
 In December 1977, the Lead-Zinc Producers Committee filed a petition with
the U.S. International Trade Commission seeking temporary relief from excessive
imports. On June 20, 1978, the Commission found that increased imports of
unalloyed, unwrought 
zinc were not a substantial cause of serious injury or a threat thereof,
to the domestic industry for purposes of the import relief provisions of
the Trade Act of 1974. 
 In accordance with the Trade Act of 1974, the Department of Labor investigated
the eligibility of certain workers in the zinc industry to apply for worker
adjustment assistance. The Department found that increased imports of zinc
materials led to worker layoffs at about 19 mines, 2 smelters, and 2 plants
that processed zinc-bearing materials in 1978-79. Benefits to eligible employees
provide for such items as training, assistance in finding a new job, and
a relocation allowance. 
 The International Lead and Zinc Study Group held an extraordinary session
in July 1978 to evaluate the zinc situation in addition to its regular session
in Geneva, Switzerland, in November. The Study Group found that the zinc
market improved in 1978 through reduction in producer stocks, and noted the
rapid rise in zinc exports to Socialist countries, and the closure of about
20 mines with a total production rate of about 150,000 tons of zinc per year.
At its annual session in Geneva in October 1979, the Study Group was concerned
about the supply of zinc metal exceeding demand and the resultant increase
in stocks in 1979-80. 


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