Mineral Facts and Problems: 1960 Edition Page: 4
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MINERAL FACTS AND PROBLEMS, ANNIVERSARY EDITION
methods of production (pressure maintenance,
water flooding, in situ combustion, use of deter-
gents, and unitization) will make available ma-
terial now discounted in reserve estimates.
Separation, identification, and characterization
of the component parts of crude petroleum and
natural gas will provide a sound basis for meet-
ing changes in requirements for the end uses
of these materials.
Continued assistance to the many small oper-
ators who largely set the pattern for the pro-
duction methods of the whole industry will
result in industrywide improvements in produc-
tion methods, will bring the laboratory products
closer to application problems, and will achieve
more efficient use of mineral resources.
Collection, classification, and dissemination of
mineral statistics, properly coordinated with
pertinent science and technology, are highly
specialized. Such data are a necessity in guid-
ing research by evaluating and interpreting the
mineral position on a local, national, and world-
wide scale with a higher degree of precision,
coverage, and detail than heretofore, and in
estimating both domestic and worldwide min-
To be most useful and in the greatest public
interest Federal research usually should not be
competitive with other research and should con-
cern itself with national needs. Although
occasionally short-term investigations are neces-
sary, Federal research should anticipate the
future and direct itself toward long-term ob-
jectives much more than privately financed
2. MINERAL-INDUSTRY STUDIES
Increased mineral utilization is fostered by
mineral-industry studies that point out com-
mercial opportunities resulting from scientific
and technical discoveries affecting minerals and
from economic advances in other fields. Dis-
covery of ore bodies, proof of sizable reserves,
and development of new or more efficient extrac-
tion methods, either in mining or metallurgy,
coupled with new or improved sources of energy
from mineral fuels to convert such ores to use-
ful products, present new opportunities to con-
sumers and communities.
On the other hand, increasing populations,
advancing industrialization, new applications,
and other elements of demand will call for a
review of latent or partly developed resources
as a new or expanded source of supply. Min-
eral-industry studies attack such problems of
supply-demand adjustment on a national basis
and on regional bases where appropriate.
In examining mineral problems, the job has
been subdivided on a commodity basis, and a
chapter has been written on each mineral com-
modity selected for its commercial significance.
The result is a series of 87 commodity state-
ments, each a chapter of this volume. Each
statement presents background facts and two
short sections covering an outlook and the par-
ticular problems of the mineral commodity.
The chapters recognize that minerals and the
mineral industries have a special significance
in the economy and that they have peculiarities
shared by few other commodities or resources.
In the first place, in an industrialized society
like that of the United States, minerals make
up a very important segment of the raw mate-
rial base. Over 95 percent of the harnessed
energy is of mineral origin. Virtually all ma-
chines would be inoperative without mineral-
derived power to drive them. Structures
would be cold in winter and uncomfortably hot
in summer without air-conditioning units using
mineral fuels. Moreover, most of the machines
and most of the structures are constructed of
minerals. In fact, minerals are serving every-
where, whether it be in communications, trans-
port, or personal adornment. Even agricultural
fertility is sustained to a marked degree by min-
Minerals have their peculiarities. Unlike
most other basic resources, they do not renew
themselves as do forest, fisheries, pasturage,
crop land, and falling water. Even here there
are marked differences among the minerals and
the effect of the uses to which they are put.
The gasoline that drives an automobile is con-
sumed beyond reclamation as is the lead that is
added to improve its burning characteristics.
However, the lead which makes up much of
the same automobile's battery has an extended
life because about 85 percent of all lead in such
batteries is reclaimed and used again.
Mineral resources are not at a complete dis-
advantage compared with renewable natural
resources, however. The extent of many of the
renewable resources is very closely known and
is not subject to enlargement, whereas with
minerals the possibility of discovery makes re-
plenishment of depleting reserves a normal
event. In the petroleum industry in the
United States the proved recoverable reserves
have remained for many years at about twelve
times the annual rate of production despite in-
creasing output. The replenishment has been
from discovery and from contributions of im-
proved techniques to higher prospective ulti-
mate recovery from the known deposits.
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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/m1/12/: accessed May 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.