Mineral Facts and Problems: 1960 Edition Page: 2
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MINERAL FACTS AND PROBLEMS, ANNIVERSARY EDITION
1. APPRAISAL OF MINERAL POSITION
Major decisions in industrial development
and expansion, foreign affairs, international
trade, defense, and in many other areas fre-
quently require reliable and comprehensive in-
formation on the Nation's mineral position.
Government agencies charged with the responsi-
bility of conducting U.S. foreign affairs, as well
as those charged with procurement of materials
for defense and internal development, must
know the country's mineral position. The Con-
gress likewise depends on objective, authentic
information so that its legislative decisions may
be based on facts. Perhaps most important of
all is an informed private industry because its
agents make so many of the major decisions
2. DEVELOPMENT OF SUBMARGINAL
Many deposits in the United States contain
such a small percentage of the desired metal
or mineral or are so difficult to treat with pres-
ent methods that exploitation would not be
profitable. Such deposits are classified as sub-
marginal resources. If technologic history can
be accepted as a guide, some of these deposits
eventually will be mined when the need becomes
great enough. Domestic submarginal deposits
of some mineral commodities of which imports
now constitute much of the supply are so large
that the United States could become completely
self-sufficient for a long time if cheaper produc-
tion methods could be devised or if the price of
the commodity were to advance.
The United States contains many submar-
ginal deposits not yet discovered or at least
not delineated. There has been little commer-
cial incentive to search for them or, if they are
found in the course of other activities, to de-
velop them. Nevertheless, a demonstration of
very large quantities of material, even if pre-
sumably of submarginal quality, is a powerful
incentive to private enterprise to attempt com-
mercial development. The early phases of
research in submarginal resources normally fall
to Government, but privately financed organi-
zations frequently undertake such development
long before profitable operation can be assured.
An example of this type of resource is the oil
shale in Colorado, assaying 25 gallons or more
per ton, that would yield an estimated 400 bil-
lion barrels of oil if all of it now known could
3. POSSIBLE NEW OR WIDER USES FOR
The United States has large deposits of min-
eral raw materials for which comparatively
little use has been found, as exemplified before
World War II by sea water, brines, magnesite,
and dolomite, now used as sources of magne-
sium. Means that would expand the use of the
metals or minerals in such deposits could relieve
a serious drain on materials in short supply now
required in some commodities and processes.
Outstanding examples of plentiful but almost
unused resources with promising possibilities
are high-alumina clay and anorthosite, raw ma-
terials for production of aluminum-and vast
reserves of lignite and peat-sources of energy.
Furthermore, if an industrial application for
an abundant but little-used material were de-
vised and demonstrated, a firm foundation
would be laid for a new industrial enterprise.
Until recently titanium and helium were ex-
amples of resources in the little-used category.
Development of substitutes is one way to
improve the mineral position of the United
States. Metals, minerals, and mineral fuels
in ample supply can be substituted, under cer-
tain conditions, for those in scant supply. The
maintenance of the German war machine
during World War II on liquid fuels syn-
thesized from coal is a spectacular example of
substitution in time of need. In the United
States the progressive substitution of aluminum
for tin in tubes and foil has replaced an im-
ported metal with one in more abundant
domestic supply. The use, where practicable,
of noncoking coals for steam generation in lieu
of scarcer fuels that have important and singu-
lar use characteristics represents wise substitu-
tion. The mineral position of the United
States will improve whenever its abundant
minerals can substitute for scarcer ones.
Basically, conservation entails wise use not
hoarding. Wise use in the mineral field in turn
requires the following: High eventual recovery
of material from the ground and of the valuable
constituents of such material; recovery at the
time needed; fabrication or other preparation
for use with minimum waste or loss of the
valuable material; efficient utilization through
superior design in fabrication or high conver-
sion to energy in combustion; utilization or
storage of coproducts and byproducts; applica-
tion to purposes of high economic utility; and
utilization of substitutes, where available, for
other important materials that either are in
limited reserve or have singular use character-
istics not common to other minerals.
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United States. Bureau of Mines. Mineral Facts and Problems: 1960 Edition, report, 1960; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc38790/m1/10/: accessed May 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.