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Mercury potential of the United States.

Bureau of Mines
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, IC 8252, 1965 Jan; :1-376
Mercury has been used by mankind since prehistoric times. It has been, and is now, widely used in industry and medicine and has unique properties which make direct substitution difficult or impossible. At present its principal uses are for electrical apparatus, control instruments, electrolytic soda preparation, mildew-proofing paints, pesticides, and medical and dental preparations. Deposits of mercury are less common than those of other base and precious metals, but some of the deposits are very large and have been ample to meet the world's past demands. The price of mercury has had many sharp fluctuations, but in general, the limited number of producers has resulted in a more stable price structure than that of many other commodities. The United States has been one of the main producers of mercury, and from 1850 to 1961 produced 3,247,704 flasks. Yearly production since World War I1 has varied from 4,535 to 38,067 flasks. An estimate of domestic resources of mercury producible at various price ranges was prepared for each mercury mine by combining specific knowledge of mercury mineralization with estimates of potential, based on geologic information and past production history. The sum of the individual estimates for each price range is shown in a table. A parallel estimate of nationwide production potential was made from a study of past price and production relationships. These were analyzed by plotting yearly production figures against the previous year's price, expressed in dollars of constant purchasing power. An equation was fitted to the data by mathematical means and was used to extend the curve into areas of higher than historic prices. Potential production rates at various price levels were taken from this graph. The estimated yearly production rates were used to make an estimate of total potential based on the premise that production rates and reserves have a proportionate relationship. The rate of developing mercury reserves during the period from January 1944 to January 1962 is considered, and it is shown that if this rate can be continued, the mercury resources of the United States, at a constant dollar price of $500 per flask, are adequate to support a production of 60,000 flasks per year for 30 or more years. This publication contains a history and description of the mercury industry in every State which has had production and individual descriptions of all mercury properties which have reported significant production. Accompanying tables give the important facts about all known mercury occurrences.
Mercury-compounds; Mining-industry; Metals; Heavy-metals
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Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, IC 8252
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division