Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Area reports: domestic 1978-79
Year 1978-79, Volume 2 (1978-1979)
Lockard, D. W.; Davis, J. F.; Morton, P.K.
California, pp. 91-103 ff. PDF (1.4 MB)
91The Mineral Industry of California This chapter has been prepared under a Memorandum of Understanding between the Bureau of Mines, U.S. Department of Interior, and the California Division of Mines and Geology, Department of Conservation, for collecting information on all nonfuel minerals. By D. W. Lockard,1 J. F. Davis,2 and P. K. Morton~ California's mineral production value in 1978 and 1979 totaled $1.5 billion, and $1.8 billion respectively. This increase can be attributed to general unit price increases and greater production of most nonmetallic minerals. Thirty-five mineral commodities, including nine metallic minerals, were produced in California in each of the past 2 years. Production of a number of commodities, including asbestos, boron compounds, carbon dioxide, clays, iron ore, mercury, perlite, rare earths, sodium carbonates, and talc, increased in 1979 when compared with that of 1978. In 1978-79, California led the Nation in the production of asbestos, boron minerals, portland cement, diatomite, sand and gravel, rare earths, and tungsten. The State is also a major source of sodium sulfate and carbonate, pumice, perlite, and magnesium compounds. Portland cement was the leading mineral commodity produced in terms of revenue; it was followed by sand and gravel, boron compounds, and crushed stone. The leading metallic commodity was iron ore, followed by tungsten. Altogether, nomnetallics accounted for nearly 92% of the State's mineral production value for 1978-79. Employment.—California's mineral industry employment, excluding oil and gas extraction, was 10,000 at yearend 1979, a 6% increase over that recorded at the end of 1978. Extraction of nonmetallic and industrial minerals accounted for an estimated 77% of mineral industry employment. Legislation and Government Programs.—Three Federal land use planning programs developed over the past 2 years may impact the State's mineral industry: RARE II, the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Wilderness Study, and the California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) program. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS), through the RARE II process, identified 899,231 acres in California that may be desirable for wilderness classification, while also classif~ring 2,629,878 acres that needed further planning and evaluation. BLM had, by the end of 1979, classified 1,134,000 acres as Wilderness Study Areas (WSA) and was evaluating additional acreage for possible inclusion as a WSA. The most controversial land management plan was the CDCA. This 12.5-million-acre area was estab'ished in the Federal Land Planning and Management Act of 1976; BLM is to supply Congress with a management plan by September 30, 1980. During May 1978, BLM held 17 public meetings statewide on procedures to be followed to develop the master plan. Mineral extraction activities are an important economic factor in the CDCA. The area produces approximately $600 million worth of minerals annually, including all of the Nation's boron minerals, 97% of its rare-earth metals, and 15% of its talc supply. The comprehensive management draft plan is to be issued in early 1980.
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