This second edition of Mineral Facts and Problems was prepared in re-
sponse to widespread public interest resulting from publication of the first
edition in 1956.
The 1960 edition, appropriately issued during the Bureau of Mines 50th
Anniversary, has the same scope as the original volume. Facts have been
brought up to date, and the outlook and problems concerning minerals have
been reappraised. Emphasis has been placed on balanced and uniform cov-
erage of different commodities to enhance the use of this volume for compara-
tive studies of minerals.
Information in Mineral Facts and Problems came from a. wide variety of
sources. Many of the 87 separate commodity chapters were reviewed by
authorities outside the Bureau, and many constructive comments were received.
The present volume, as well as the previous one, is the outgrowth of the
Bureau system of programing its research. Analysis of facts is essential to
successful research. Once all available information concerning a mineral com-
modity has been assembled and carefully analyzed, the Bureau can delimit its
objectives, define its problems, and direct its efforts into the most productive
Essentially, the Bureau attempts to restrict its investigations of metals,
minerals, and mineral fuels in much the same manner as private enterprise.
A commercial organization seeking to improve its competitive position in a
single product tries to gain a thorough understanding of all factors-tech-
nologic and economic-of related commodities and the allied industries. The
Bureau of Mines, responsible for developing ways to improve the Nation's
supplies of mineral raw materials in the public interest, does the same. How-
ever, because the basic aim. of a Federal agency is to promote national
well-being, the Bureau of Mines must weigh the research needs and poten-
tialities of each mineral against, those of all others in the perspective of
national security and dynamic economy.
In 1953 the Bureau of Mines began scheduling its research under a formal
system having two basic requirements: (1) Current work, reviewed and eval-
uated frequently, and (2) new projects, undertaken only after careful appraisal
has shown that they will contribute toward solving specific problems.
These problems are defined in program statements prepared for each
mineral commodity. The statements are revised periodically and reflect the
rapidly changing positions of separate commodities in relation to national
demands; thus they provide information from which ideas for research can be
generated and evaluated.
These program statements on commodities were intended only for use by
the Bureau of Mines. However, as the public evidenced considerable interest
in them, it became evident that a volume containing abridged versions of the
statements would be useful, and the Mineral Facts and Problems series resulted.
It is the hope of the Bureau that the present volume of Mineral Facts and
Problems will prove as valuable as the 1956 edition to scientists, engineers,
executives, educators, and others who must obtain information on mineral
commodities but who lack the time for thorough professional searching through
scattered and sometimes unfamiliar references.
The 1960 edition of Mineral Facts and Problems represents the work of
Bureau specialists-aided immeasurably by more than 500 critics from industry
and Federal and private research institutions, who reviewed the separate state-
ments and contributed information and ideas. The Bureau is indebted to the
many persons whose assistance made this Anniversary Edition possible.
United States. Bureau of Mines. Mineral Facts and Problems: 1960 Edition. [Washington D.C.]. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc38790/. Accessed September 15, 2014.