Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Area reports: domestic 1978-79
Year 1978-79, Volume 2 (1978-1979)
Lockard, D. W.; Bennett, E. H.
Idaho, pp. 163-175 ff. PDF (1.4 MB)
THE MINERAL INDUSTRY OF IDAHO 169 Railroad. New EPA lead standards, as proposed, have been criticized by the Bunker Hill Co. which operates the State's only smelter complex. It sees the standards as too stringent and economically unachievable. EPA is also seeking a penalty from Bunker Hill for excessive particulate pollution from the zinc fuming furnace. U.S. Department of the Interior mineral resource agencies were active throughout the State in 1978-79. Mapping, both topographic and field, and hydrologic studies were conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey. Mineral appraisals were initiated in the Selway-Bitteroot Wilderness area and in southeastern Idaho. The U.S. Bureau of Mines initiated mineral appraisal studies in the Selway-Bitteroot Wilderness area and on BLM lands in southeastern Idaho. The Bureau was also appraising mineral resources of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation in southeasten Idaho. Alternate mining methods and the feasibility of recovering byproducts from phosphate rock operations were investigated by Bureau research centers. Extensive use was made of the Bureau's Mineral Industry Location System (MILS) and Minerals Availability System (MAS) in the RARE II and BLM Wilderness planning processes. The Bureau's research centers supported contracts for a field test on disposal of mill tailings in surface backfill, a program for destressing rock in advance of mining, and an evaluation and application of roadheaders in underground uranium mining. By yearend 1979, under Title III of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (P.L. 95-87), the Secretary of Interior had designated 31 schools and universities nationwide as State Mining and Mineral Resources and Research Institutes. The College of Mines and Earth Resources at the University of Idaho was designated as Idaho's Institute during 1978. The 44th Idaho Legislature, second regular session, considered many new proposed laws for regulating the State's mineral industry in 1978. A new law was passed concerning design and construction of tail- ing ponds; the law requires the mineral operator to secure approval of the Idaho Department of Water Resources for tailing storage structures. Proposals to amend the Surface Mining and Dredge Mining Acts remained in committee or were vetoed by the Governor. A House Concurrent Resolution for amending Regulations 1 and 2 of the Mining License Tax died in committee. The 45th Idaho Legislature, first regular session, met in 1979 and addressed relatively few mineral-related bills. One bill, House Concurrent Resolution 9, would have set royalties for mineral products from State lands to follow rules used by the Federal establishment. The bill died in committee. A pre-filed bill, one which was never introduced, would have called for reclaiming abandoned tailing ponds with funds for administration to be appropriated from the mine license tax payments. The Idaho Bureau of Mines and Geology published a new State geologic map during 1978, and it conducted numerous geochemical and field geology studies, some under Federal contracts and grants. Several openfile reports were released during 1978-79. The Bureau of Minerals, Department of Lands, processed mineral lease applications for about 1,350 acres of State land during 1978, and more than 43,500 acres during 1979. Approximately 76,000 acres were under lease as of July 1, 1979. Approved active reclamation plans, as of July 1, 1979, totaled 526, covering approximately 20,000 acres. By the end of 1979 there were nine dredge mining permits approved covering 162 acres, with eight more permits pending. For fiscal year 1978 (July 1, 1978 to June 30, 1979), State receipts for mineral royalties and rentals amounted to nearly $100,000. Total rentals and royalties paid the State (mineral, oil and gas, and geothermal) for the same period amounted to $1.1 million. The Idaho State mine inspection program was terminated in 1979. Inadequate funding and duplication of services performed by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration were reasons for the elimination. REVIEW BY NONFUEL MINERAL COMMODITIES METALS Antimony.-.-Antimony production and value increased in 1978 compared with that of 1977, but decreased in 1979. This decrease was because of production losses at the Sunshine Mine. Sunshine, the State's only producer, had underground transportation problems and was mining lower silver grade ores. Idaho ranked first in the Nation in antimony production for both years. Cadmium.—Idaho's output of cadmium
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