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Min Eng 1988 Jun; 40(6):425
Three companies in Oklahoma had nameplate capacity to produce more than half of reported domestic iodine demand. Imports of crude iodine amounted to 1.1 kt (2.5 million lbs) with a c.i.f. value of $17.6 million. Imports of resublimed iodine, 99.9% pure, amounted to 2 kt (4.4 million lbs) with a c.i.f. value of $31 million. The average c.i.f. value of imported crude iodine was $15.37/kg ($6.92 per lb) and that of resublimed iodine was $15.70/kg ($7.06 per lb). Woodward Iodine continued production from underground brines associated with small amounts of natural gas in Woodward County, OK. North American Brine Resources operated two miniplants that produced iodine from waste brine associated with crude oil production in Kingfisher County, OK. In October, a new plant was completed in Dewey County, OK by Iochem Corp., a Japanese owned company. Nameplate capacity was announced as being 453 t/a (1 million lb per year). Actual production, however, will depend on the quality and quantity of the brines. Iochem bought 16 km2 (4000 acres) of brine leases. Iochem was in the process of drilling 3050 m (10,000 ft) deep supply and reinjection wells. The plant will employ 25 people and be one of the area's largest employers. Iodine is a strategic material in the US National Defense Stockpile. During 1987, 277 t (610,000 lbs) was released as payment material for upgrading contracts for stockpiled ferroalloys. The iodine payment was completed in April, and authorization for additional material was unavailable. The stockpile goal remained at 2.6 kt (5.8 million lbs). Total inventory at year-end was 3 kt (6.6 million lbs) valued at $52.9 million. The primary uses for iodine were animal feed supplements, catalysts, inks and colorants, pharmaceuticals, photographic equipment, sanitary and industrial disinfectants, and stabilizers. Iodine can be used over a wide range of pH values to form a stable complex to dissolve gold by leaching. Iodine can be regenerated by using ion exchange and electrolytical processes. The process, though, is expensive. Japan continued to be the major world producer of iodine as a byproduct of natural gas production. Seven companies operated 17 plants in Chiba, Miyazaki, and Niigata Prefectures. They produced an estimated 7.2 kt (16 million lbs). Chile, the second largest producer, reported production of 3.2 kt (7 million lbs) as a byproduct of nitrate production from caliche in the Atacama Desert.
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Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division