Wyoming Minerals Industry
Minerals Industry Report for Wyoming
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In 2007, Wyoming’s nonfuel raw mineral production was valued at $1.75 billion, based upon annual U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) data. This was a $160 million, or 10%, increase from the State’s total nonfuel mineral production value for 2006, which was up $290 million, or more than 22%, from that of 2005. For the third consecutive year, the State ranked 14th among the 50 States in total nonfuel raw mineral production value and in 2007 accounted for about 2.5% of the U.S. total value. For the second consecutive year, per capita, the State ranked second (fi rst from 1996–2005) in the Nation in the value of its nonfuel mineral industry’s raw mineral production; with a population of 523,000, the value of production was about $3,360 per person.
Soda ash was Wyoming’s leading nonfuel mineral, by value, followed by bentonite, Grade–A helium, construction sand and gravel, and portland cement. Together, the fi ve accounted for slightly more than 95.5% of the State’s total nonfuel raw mineral production value. In 2007, most of the State’s nonfuel mineral commodities increased in value, with only crushed stone and crude gypsum having decreased for the year.
The largest increases in mineral commodity values, in descending order of change, took place in the production of soda ash, construction sand and gravel, Grade–A helium, and bentonite clay. A relatively small increase in soda ash production led to a more than $100 million rise in its value and an 11% increase in the production of construction sand and gravel resulted in a 28%, or $21 million, increase in that mineral commodity’s production value. Smaller yet significant increases took place in the production values of lime, which had a small increase in production but a substantial increase in unit value, and portland cement. The largest decrease in mineral commodity value took place in crushed stone. A 4% decrease in crushed stone production coupled with lower unit values resulted in a more than 17%, or more than $12 million, decrease in its production value (table 1).
In 2007, Wyoming continued to be first in rank in the quantities of soda ash and bentonite clay produced, and second in Grade–A helium production. Wyoming also continued to produce significant quantities of construction sand and gravel, crushed stone, and crude gypsum. The United States is the world’s second leading producer of soda ash, which is produced mainly from trona ore. Wyoming was one of only two soda ash-producing States and hosts the world’s largest (known) deposit of trona. Soda ash (sodium carbonate) is an inorganic chemical that is used extensively in the manufacture of glass, paper, soap and detergents, and textiles, and, in the form of sodium bicarbonate, in food products. California produced a significantly smaller quantity of natural soda ash.