Mineral Facts and Problems: 1960 Edition Page: 40
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MINERAL FACTS AND PROBLEMS, ANNIVERSARY EDITION
fundamental physical chemistry of fused salt
electrolysis in the aluminum reduction cell.
The cathode and anode processes in the elec-
trolysis of the fused cryolite bath were being
studied and pertinent physical, chemical, and
thermodynamic data obtained.
The availability and consumption of alumi-
num is expected to increase at a greater rate
than the Gross National Product. The versa-
tility of the metal and the progressive research,
development, and sales policies of the industry
will be reflected in increased displacement of
competitive materials and expanding applica-
tions into new fields.
Predictions on the annual rate of increase in
aluminum consumption vary from 6 to 10 per-
cent or about 2 to 3 times the growth rate of
the Gross National Product, compared with the
average rate of 11 percent a year since 1900.
As the industry grows it is likely that the dis-
placement of other materials at the high rate
attained in the past will become more difficult.
Assuming an annual increase of 7 percent a
year, and using 1957 as the base year, consump-
tion in 1960 will be 2.6 million tons and by
1965, 3.7 million tons. Long term forecasts,
based on the same rate of increase, indicate an
annual consumption of more than 7.2 million
tons by 1975.
Utilization of aluminum is just beginning in
major areas such as canning, automotive en-
gine blocks, and structural uses such as bridge
and building construction. Considerable ton-
nages of aluminum will be used in the highway
program for railings, signs, and lighting stand-
Aluminum, which has competed with and
displaced many materials from their estab-
lished markets, is in turn facing stiff competi-
tion from plastics. Plastics that compete most
vigorously with aluminum are polyesters and
other resins, reinforced with fiberglass, paper,
or metal. Competition has been most notice-
able and will probably increase in the small
boat industry in which fiberglass reinforced
plastics have captured a large segment of the
market. Other areas of competition from plas-
tics are in automotive trim, outboard motors,
and packaging, such as collapsible tubes, semi-
rigid cartons, and wrapping materials.
It appears likely that the supply of alumi
num, including imports and secondary metal,
will exceed the demand for the next several
years, and it is unlikely that additional capac-
ity will be required before 1964. From pre."
vious experience it can be expected that once
a shortage develops the domestic aluminum
metal industry will expand its production ca-
pacity enough to more than meet the demand.
However, the high capital investment for alu
minum plants discourages construction of new
facilities until an assured market develops.
Then, if several producers construct new plants,
a temporary oversupply of aluminum occurs.
The world outlook for aluminum is similar
to that in the United States. The per capita
consumption of aluminum in the United States
in 1957 was about 24 pounds. In Europe con-
sumption was less than 5 pounds on a per
capita basis. It is expected that European con-
sumption will approach and within a decade or
so exceed the present United States consump-
As sources of hydroelectric power competi-
tively available to aluminum producers in in-
chustrially developed countries become limited,
the aluminum industry in such countries will
probably turn more and more to the use of
other sources of power including coal, lignite,
natural gas, and possibly nuclear power. At
the same time the hydroelectic sources in un-
developed areas such as Africa, South Amer-
ica, and New Guinea will become increasingly
significant, especially in those areas where hy-
dropower sources are near bauxite deposits.
There should be an increase in the trend to
build aluminum reduction plants in such areas.
No plants other than the two now under con-
struction are in prospect in the United States
in the immediate future; however, plants are
being constructed or planned in Norway,
France, Japan, and Surinam. As aluminum
demand increases, the Canadian industry will
be expanded to meet future requirements. The
remote location of the newly discovered large
bauxite deposits in Australia suggests that an
aluminum reduction facility might be con-
structed in Australia, New Guinea., or New
Zealand so that advantage may be taken of the
lower cost of transporting aluminum in the
form of ingot, as opposed to the ore or aln-
Although thermally-generated power is not
yet competitive with much of the presently
available hydroelectric power, when the cost of
transporting raw materials and aluminum
products is taken into account thermally-gen-
erated power near the consuming areas in the
East gains an advantage. As evidence of the
trend two reduction plants using coal-gen-
crated power were completed in the Ohio River
Valley in 1959, a third is expected to begin
production by 1960 and one plant in central
Texas uses lignite as a source of thermal
power. Areas with large deposits of lignite
such as North Dakota and Wyoming may well
become sites for future aluminum plants.
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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/m1/48/: accessed August 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.