Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook 1990
Year 1990, Volume 2 (1990)
White, Doss H., Jr.; Johnston, John; Marsalis, W. E.
Louisiana, pp. -233 PDF (1.4 MB)
226 LOUISIANA—19cuntil the dredgers could return to district court and prove the validity of their leases. Industry attorneys filed for a rehearing on the 4th Circuit Court ruling. Later in the year, an agreement was reached between the dredging companies, the State, and the environmentalists that significantly raised royalties on dredged shell. Previous leases required dredging firms to pay $ 1.27 per cubic yard for Pontchartrain shell and $0.91 per cubic yard for shell dredged from coastal waters. Under the new terms, the State was to receive a minimum royalty of one-eighth of the selling price of the shell. This equated to $ 1 1 per cubic yard for lake shells and $7 per cubic yard from shells dredged from gulf coastal waters. Within a few days of the new royalty agreement, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) ruled that the water quality in Lake Pontchartrain was excessively degraded by the shell removal, and the Governor permanently terminated dredging in the lake. Coastal dredging was unaffected. Following the Governor's action, a resolution was introduced into the Louisiana House of Representatives suspending the law under which the DEQ and the Governor terminated dredging. The resolution was later withdrawn. The ban on Lake Pontchartrain dredging increased the demand for offshore (Gulf of Mexico) shell and delayed work on a $17.5 million project to relocate a portion ofU.S. Highway 90. In June, the dwindling shell supplies, which sold for $12.50 per cubic yard, were partially replaced with limestone shipped to Louisiana from other States. The limestone was selling for $ 19.50 per cubic yard.4 Road construction bid specifications had to be amended in June to allow contractors to estimate the higher cost of shell from Gulf of Mexico reefs. Reef shell dredgers had a backlog of orders for the Gulf shells. The termination of Lake Pontchartrain dredging came at a time when synthetic aggregate was gaining acceptance for many applications for which shell was used. Synthetic aggregate, fabricated by one firm from hydrofluoric gypsum, was 40 % cheaper than shell dredged under the original royalty system. The termination of shell dredging in Lake Pontchartrain was expected to create ~ new markets for synthetic aggregate. In other developments, Freeport-McMoRan Inc. continued plans to develop its sulfur discovery on its Main Pass lease about 17 miles east of Venice, LA. At yearend, McDermott International Inc. had completed ~ the underwater framework for the first drilling platform at its Morgan City facility. The $804 million project will include a 1. 1-mile-long sulfur mining complex of six interconnected platforms costing $554 million and four additional platforms for oil and production costing $250 million. The Frasch process mining operation will tap 67 million tons of sulfur occurring in the caprock of a salt dome 1 ,200 feet beneath the floor of the Gulfof Mexico in approximately 200 feet of water. Sulfur production is scheduled to begin in 1992. The Freeport-McMoRan project is not the largest, dollar-wise, scheduled for offshore Louisiana waters. Shell Oil Co. will invest approximately $ 1 .3 billion in its auger tension leg platform to be installed at a record depth of 2,860 feet of water more than 200 miles south of New Orleans. The platform is scheduled for installation in 1993.~ Work was underway on a new wet-process phosphoric acid purification plant at Geismar. Rhone-Poulenc is the owner of the facility. A study by Louisiana Tech University's Business Research Division found that mining income in Louisiana was up 11.3% to $2.3 billion. The national mining growth rate was 12. 8 % 6 REGULATORY ISSUES Several Louisiana firms that processed mineral commodities used deep-well injection to dispose of waste materials. The Resources Conversion and Recovery Act banned deep-well injection unless alternative disposal methods were unavailable. Ten firms . were seeking exemption from the act.7 Despite the protests of certain environmental groups, the State Department of Natural Resources' Office of Conservation granted nine permits to the Texas Brine Corp. to drill brine solution mining wells into the body of the Starks Salt Dome. A cavity would be developed for the storage of light hydrocarbons. Opponents feared the contamination of the Chicot Aquifer that supplies drinking water for southwest Louisiana and southeastern Texas. Concerns were also voiced over the earthquake potential of the area and the effects of an earth tremor on hydrocarbons stored in a dome cavity.8 LEGISLATION AND GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS The Louisiana Geological Survey (LGS) continued or completed work on several studies on the State's mineral resources. As part of a cooperative central gulf coast gas atlas project, work was underway on a gas atlas of Louisiana that was scheduled to be completed by the end of 1991 and published by the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology during 1992. A sand and gravel resource study was ongoing in association with the Louisiana Transportation Research Institute and the Louisiana State . University Department of Civil Engineering. An analysis of mineral production statistics in Louisiana using historical severance tax data was underway; parish (county) records were available on severance tax collection by mineral back to the 1930's, and, because the severance tax rates are known, mineral production by mineral and by parish could be calculated. A study on the location and uses of Louisiana salt domes was also underway. The LOS was continuing an investigation of mineral resources in the Gulf of Mexico; an investigation showing that Ship Shoal could be an economic source of sand for Louisiana's future was completed in cooperation with the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS). The ongoing National Coal Resource Data System (lignite) program, a cooperative
http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-US/1.0/| As a work of the United States government, this material is in the public domain.| For information on re-use see: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Copyright