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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Area reports: domestic 1978-79
Year 1978-79, Volume 2 (1978-1979)

White, Doss H., Jr.; Sweeney, John W.
Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Pacific Island possessions,   pp. 461-464 PDF (420.0 KB)

Page 462

Table 2.—Value of nonfuel mineral production in Puerto Rico, by
Minerals produced in 1978 
Aguadilla               Arecibo                 
$981 W 
w w 
San Juan  
Stone and salt. 
Cement, lime, stone, clays. 
Cement, stone, clays. 
' 132,922 
 w withheld to avoid disclosing company proprietary data; included with "Undistributed."
 ' Includes some stone and sand and gravel (1977) that cannot be assigned
to specific districts, and values indicated by symbol W. 
 2Data may not add to totals shown because of independent rounding. 
 ' Incomplete total, excludes value of sand and gravel. 
 The upward trend continued through the first quarter of 1979. However, severe
rains from mid-April through September severely hampered construction when
rainfall exceeded the average annual rate by 51%. The Island was hit by two
hurricanes in August, seriously disrupting construction activities. In October,
a strike by independent truckers that lasted 5 weeks virtually paralyzed
the Island's construction industry The weather conditions and truckers' strike
created a $160 million backlog in construction. 
 The development of the Utado-AdjuntasLares porphyry copper deposits of westcentral
Puerto Rico continued to be of prime interest to the Commonwealth. Discussions
between Government representatives and the Kennecott Copper Corp.AMAX partnership
through 1979 did not significantly change the basic technical proposals;
however, allocation of revenues among the companies and the Commonwealth
was a major point of concern. The deposits collectively contain about 250
million short tons of ore averaging 0.7% copper. The average annual output
of refined copper over a 30-year mine life would be over 58,000 tons with
significant recovery of byproduct silver, gold, and sulfuric acid. 
 Estimates of development costs prepared by the Commonwealth in September
1977 indicated that the total capital investment for the project would be
approximately $500 million. About 2,000 persons would be employed in the
first 3-year development stage. Later, 800 to 1,000 persons would be employed
 The Commonwealth and Universal Oil Products Co. (UOP) continued an evaluation
of the Guanajibo nickel laterites near Ma- 
yaguez. In 1978, bulk samples were sent to UOP's facilities in Tucson, Ariz.,
for further metallurgical testing. In addition, a small sample was sent to
the Federal Bureau of Mines Metallurgy Research Center at Albany, Oreg.,
for evaJuation using a Bureaudeveloped recovery process. The reserves are
estimated at 200 million tons at a grade of 0.9% nickel and 0.09% cobalt.
At the end of 1979, no decision had been reached on development. 
 Legislation and Government Programs.—The U.S. Department of Commerce
accepted Puerto Rico's Coastal Zone Management Program. It cited the program
as a model tailored to meet the Island's problems, and allocated a $1,474,000
grant for program management. 
 In 1978 and 1979, the Puerto Rican Department of Natural Resources and the
U.S. Geological Survey investigated offshore sand deposits. Bulk samples
for four potential offshore sand deposits were sent to the Puerto Rico Highway
Authority to determine suitability for making concrete. Investigation continued
on the resources and environmental consequences of sand recovery in the Cabo
Rojo area. 
 The Puerto Rican Government, through its Department of Natural Resources,
collected a royalty for sand and gravel produced from public lands. These
royalty assessments are $0.45 per cubic meter for sand and gravel, $0.75
per cubic meter for unprocessed river-run sand, and $0.20 per cubic meter
for fill material. A $250 annual extraction permit was required from all
operations extracting sand and gravel from either public or private lands.
The royalty payment through December 1978 was 

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