Arkansas Minerals Industry
Minerals Industry Report for Arkansas
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In 2007 Arkansas nonfuel raw mineral production was valued at $768 million, based upon annual U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) data. This was a 3.9% decrease from the State’s total value of $799 million in 2006, which followed a $202 million, or nearly 34%, increase from 2005 to 2006. The State was 29th (28th in 2006) in rank among the 50 States in total nonfuel mineral production value in 2007 and accounted for more than 1% of the U.S. total. Yet, per capita, the State ranked 15th in the Nation in its minerals industry’s value of nonfuel mineral production; with a population of slightly more than 2.8 million, the value of production was about $271 per capita in 2007.
In 2007, bromine followed by crushed stone, cement (portland and masonry combined), and construction sand and gravel were Arkansas leading nonfuel minerals by value, these commodities together accounting for nearly 92% of the State’s total nonfuel mineral production value. For nearly four decades, bromine and crushed stone have been the State’s two leading nonfuel minerals, by value, bromine leading in value from 1969 up to 1996 when crushed stone went from second to first. Since then the two have exchanged rank several times; crushed stone was first in 1996–98, 2001–03, and 2005, with bromine back in the lead in the intervening years and significantly in the lead in 2006–07. For more than a decade, cement has ranked third and construction sand and gravel has ranked fourth. Actual production data for bromine and cement have been withheld (company proprietary data).
In 2007, modest increases of between $3 million and $4 million took place in the production values of portland cement, lime, and industrial sand and gravel; common clays value also increased, by $1.2 million. But decreases (in descending order) in the values of crushed stone of $18 million, bromine (data withheld—company proprietary data), construction sand and gravel, down by $7.3 million, and crude gypsum (also proprietary) resulted in an overall decrease in total nonfuel mineral production value for the State. While not significantly affecting the State’s total value, the unit values of tripoli and common clays showed large increases and the value of gemstones showed a substantial increase. Although a modest decrease took place in the production of tripoli, there was an 80% increase in its total value. A slight decrease took place in common clays production, but its value rose by 47%. The value of gemstones rose by 37% (table 1).
In 2007, Arkansas was the Nation’s only State to produce bromine, which was extracted in solution from deep bromine-rich brines from wells located adjacent to oil fi elds in the State. Arkansas continued to be the only State that produced silica stone and it remained third in the quantities of tripoli of four producing States, fi fth in crude gypsum, and fifth in gemstones (gemstones based upon value). The State rose to sixth from seventh in the production of common clays and it decreased to fourth from third in that of kaolin clays. Additionally, signifi cant quantities of crushed stone, portland cement, lime, and industrial sand and gravel were produced in the State. Metals that were produced in the State—for the most part raw steel—were processed from materials acquired from other domestic and foreign sources. The principal steel mills in the State were Quanex Corp. (purchased by Gerdau Ameristeel US, Inc. in November) in Sebastion County, Nucor-Yamato Steel Co. and Nucor Corp. in Mississippi County, and Arkansas Steel Associates in Jackson County. Strategic Minerals Corp., or Stratcor, continued operation of the mill facility at Potash Sulphur Springs in Garland County; the mill extracts vanadium pentoxide from recycled out-of-State vanadium-bearing feed.