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U.S. Output of Mineral-based Materials Stagnant
Released: 4/28/2003

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communication
119 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
Gloria Ruggiero 1-click interview
Phone: 703-648-7790

Diane Noserale
Phone: 703-648-4333

U.S. output of mineral-based materials remained nearly unchanged at $373 billion in 2002 compared to the previous year according to a new report from the U.S. Geological Survey. The sluggish economy led to the continued low output. Especially hard hit were the copper, lead, and zinc producers. Steel producers, despite a slight improvement in output, continued to face strong foreign competition, higher energy costs, and lower prices for their products. Homebuilding and other domestic construction sectors—major consumers of brick, cement, glass, and stone—remained strong enough to help raise the total output of industrial mineral materials slightly.

Mine production of U.S. raw nonfuel minerals in 2002 was $38 billion, a slight decrease compared with that of 2001. Within that category, however, the difference between the metal and nonmetal components was significant: Metals output dropped from the previous year by 7 percent to $8 billion while the estimated output of industrial minerals increased by less than 1 percent to $30 billion. California, Nevada, Texas, Florida, and Arizona were the leading mineral-producing states.

Imports of raw and processed mineral materials fell by about 8 percent from the previous year to $62 billion; aluminum, copper, and steel were among the largest imports. Exports of raw and processed mineral materials during 2002 dropped by 14 percent to $39 billion.

Two major sectors of the U.S. economy, motor vehicle manufacturing and the construction industry, exerted considerable influence on domestic demand for mineral-based materials in 2002. In a largely successful effort to maintain sales, domestic motor vehicle manufacturers offered low- to no-interest loans to purchasers of new vehicles. Consequently, domestic market sales of U.S.-produced motor vehicles—incorporating large quantities of steel and other metals as well as significant amounts of glass and plastics—were maintained at previous year levels. The construction industry—accounting for most of the consumption of clay, cement, glass, sand and gravel, and stone—benefited from low mortgage rates available to purchasers of residential housing units. In addition, Federal expenditures for building highways and mass transit systems helped maintain demand for cement, sand and gravel, steel, and crushed stone in some areas.

Mineral Commodity Summaries 2003 provides detailed information about events, trends, and issues in the domestic and international minerals industries during 2002. The report summarizes minerals industry trends for individual mineral commodities and also provides an outlook for domestic mineral industries in 2003. Separate chapters provide statistics on production, trade, and resources for about 90 mineral commodities. These statistics are collected with cooperative input from more than 90 countries and by survey responses from 18,000 domestic companies. The report is currently available on the World Wide Web at http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/mcs/ and will be available from the Government Printing Office, Superintendent of Documents, in late March 2003 (stock number 024-004-025-29-8; price $27.00). Call 202-512-1800 (1-886-512-1800 toll free) or visit their web site at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/index.html for ordering information.

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