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All the domestic ore exported from the United States since 1907 has been high grade willemite from the mines at Franklin Furnace, N.J. It is used for the production of high-grade spelter in Europe. Since the outbreak of the European War, these exports fell off to practically nothing but began to pick up slightly in the latter part of 1917.
In the records of the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, previous to 1915, foreign exports of zinc ore are listed. This zinc was not exported in the form of ore but as spelter smelted from the ore. The zinc was carried on the records of bonded warehouses until the bond was cancelled. These exports have since been listed as domestic exports of spelter "from foreign ore.'
Mexico.--Zinc deposits are found in the States of Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosi, Guerrero, Jalisco, Zacatecas, Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, Durango, Chihuahua, and Sonora. The ore imported into the United States has come from Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, and Chihuahua. Both carbonate and sulphide ores are mined, but zinc production has not become general in Mexico and zinc minerals are still considered chiefly as unwelcome accessories of other ores. The zinc carbonates found with the oxidized lead ores were thrown on the dump 20 years ago.
It was not until 1904 that the demand for zinc ores in the United States warranted the shipment of zinc to this country. By 1907 the imports into the United States reached large proportions, amounting to practically 100,000 tons in that fiscal year. The tariff of 1909 reduced importations of zinc ores considerably; but, under the influence of the high prices that prevailed in 1915 to 1917, exports to the United States from sections where the political conditions permitted production increased rapidly.
The zinc resources of Mexico are unquestionably large and important. In the event of the return of a settled government, the Mexican output could be almost indefinitely increased. The present tax systems and levies of the Carranzista government are a decided handicap to the development of the Mexican mining industry while the general difficulty of transportation and danger of violence and confiscation have crippled the industry in many sections. The export tax on zinc in ore or concentrates is 0.38 centavos a kilo.1 On a typical ore containing 50 per cent zin , this tax amounts to slightly less than $10 a ton.
Canada. Prior to 1916 all the zinc ore mined in Canada was exported for smelting; but in that year an electrolytic plant was established at Trail, British Columbia. This plant was operated more or less regularly until 1918 when it was shut down. Practically all the ore is therefore still exported to the United States.
In 1917 the total zinc ore shipments from mines were 116,660 tons containing a total of 61,920,149 pounds of zinc, as compared with 82,077 tons of ore containing 48,498,078 pounds of zinc in 1916. Most of the production comes from British Columbia. The British Columbia Zinc Commission published a report in 1906 describing the known zinc deposits of that Province. The ore comes mainly from the Slocan district, where it is found with lead and silver.
Quebec is the only other producer of any importance in recent years. Its output is equivalent to from one to two million pounds of zinc annually. Zinc deposits, said to be of economic value, have been located in nearly all parts of the Dominion, and have been operated in several localities, notably Cape Breton.
Other foreign countries.—Zinc ore is found in nearly all countries of the world. Enormous bodies of high-grade ore have been found in recent years in India and in Rhodesia. In the former country, one ore body—the Bawdwin deposit-has been proved to contain over three and one half million tons of mixed lead and zinc ore with an average content of 27 per cent lead and 221 per cent zinc, with 25 ounces of silver per ton. This is the most unusual deposit of practically pure sulphide material, except iron sulphide, in the world. This mine, which is in Burma near the Chinese border, is capable of a stupendous production of both metals; the zinc has not received a great deal of attention, but will probably be smelted partly in England and partly in India. Norway and Sweden have large deposits of lowgrade ores which are economically worked, especially for high-grade electrolytic spelter. Lower grades of ore can be utilized with electric power available close to the mines.
Spain produces mostly calamine, which during a large part of the war period came to the United States except for less amounts used by the local smelters. Italian ores that were formerly smelted in Germany and Belgium have, during the war, come in part to the United States as did also the ores from French Africa, where extensive deposits are worked by English and Belgian smelters. This ore, chiefly carbonate, is calcined at the mines to a content of 50 to 60 per cent zinc.
1 November, 1918. Private communication, Department of Commerce. Exchange at $0.575, U. 8. cy.
In Russia the deposits of Russian Poland, formerly very productive, are now nearing exhaustion. About 9,000 tons of spelter are annually produced, most of which goes to Austria. Developments in northern Caucasus and Finland have opened up new supplies. The Irtysh Corporation, working in southwestern Siberia, has opened up a large body of nearly pure sulphide ore and a tremendous tonnage of lower grade material.
Indo-China is an important producer of zinc ores. These formerly went chiefly to Belgium, but since the war have been diverted to France, Japan, and the United States. A considerable portion of the "Hongkong” shipments to the United States probably originate in French China. Japan, which formerly was an exporter of ore, is now a considerable importer. The local production is about 50,000 tons maximum. Imports of ore are now made from Austria, China, Burma, Indo-China, and Vladivostok, as well as the entire production of Korea.?
One of the largest zinc ore producers in the world is Australia. At Broken Hill, New South Wales, the zinc contents of the silverlead ores were at one time a nuisance, and enormous piles of zinc tailings and slimes were stacked about the concentrating plants, while lead concentrates containing as much as 20 per cent zinc have been smelted with blast furnace slags as high as 16 per cent zinc. No large zinc smelting works have been erected in Australia, the present spelter capacity (1919) of the Commonwealth (including Tasmania) being but 25 to 30 tons per day. A small retort plant at Port Pirie and a new electrolytic plant at Risdon comprise the total reduction facilities.
The British Government has contracted to take practically the entire output of the Australian mines for the period of the war and for 10 years thereafter. This contract supersedes a previous arrangement for the annual sale to the Imperial Government of 100,000 tons of zinc concentrate and 45,000 tons of spelter for 10 years. Under this agreement all stocks of ore on hand at the first of the year were to be taken over (except for a small reserve). Each year 250,000 tons of ore for the period of the war, and 300,000 tons for the following nine years shall be furnished by the Federal Government to the Imperial Government. Provision is, however, made for supplying the Australian smelters and filling Japanese contracts. The normal yearly Australian output is about 400,000 tons of concentrate containing from 46 to 48 per cent zinc.
1 These deposits will doubtless be included in the new state of Poland.
2 The annual demand for spelter in Japan is about 29,000 tons, chiefly for the higher grades. The present capacity is approximately 45,000 tons and this was to be increased by new construction to 100,000 tons per year, but the Japanese zinc industry practically collapsed even before the signing of armistice, and it is believed in many quarters that Japan is not likely to again produce more zinc than it requires for domestic consumption.
IMPORT AND EXPORT CLASSIFICATION. Zinc imported into the United States, either as metal or as ore, may be (1) entered for immediate consumption, in which case the duty is paid at once and the zinc goes direct to the importer; or (2) it may be entered for warehouse, bond being given for double the amount of estimated duty. All zinc ore, at least in recent years, is imported in bond. The tables of general imports record the zinc content of the ore as estimated at the port of entry and at the time of entry into warehouse. The imports for consumption consist wholly of withdrawals from bonded smelting warehouses for consumption. The total imports for consumption will therefore differ from the general imports for any definite period by the amount that withdrawals from warehouse--consisting generally of spelter-differ from the entries for warehouse during the same period. Errors in estimating the zinc contents of the ore also introduce a possible variation in the two records.
Ore may be drawn from warehouse for consumption by payment of the duty or it may be exported from the warehouse as ore, or it may be smelted in bond without payment of duty, the metal being finally either withdrawn for consumption on payment of duty or exported from warehouse with cancellation of bond. In the table of imports of consumption the imports are expressed in terms under which they were originally entered. The zinc ore imported for consumption may be actually used in the country or it may be simply smelted and exported, in which case it is entitled to a drawback of 99 per cent of the duties paid. Spelter made from imported ore and exported from warehouse has, since July 1, 1915, been included by the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce in "domestic exports" of zinc as from foreign ore.” This new classification gives a clearer record of the smelting industry than did the old classification in which these exports were listed as “foreign exports."
1 These tables are given in the report on spelter in the files of the Tariff Commission.
Prior to 1902 there had been practically no zinc ore imported into the United States and until 1906 the imports were comparatively insignificant. Until 1909 the ore was in large part undutíable. Most of the imports were of calamine from Mexico which was specifically mentioned as being free in the tariff then existing. In the imports for consumption the early imports show two classes of oreone free and the other bearing a duty of 20 per cent. The former was calamine and the latter blende. The controversy that developed from this division is described under Tariff History, on a later page.
The numerous subdivisions of the ore imports un ler the act of 1909 account for the four separate tables necessary for listing these imports. Under the act of 1913 an ad valorem duty was levied, thus making one class of all grades of zinc ore.
Imports for consumption.
1 July 1 to Aug. 5, 1909, under act of 1897.
4 Oct. 4, 1913, to July 1, 1914, under act of 1913. 9 Aug. 6, 1909, to July 1, 1910, under act of 1909. 5 First reported in quarter ending June 30, 1915. 3 July 1 to Oct. 3, 1913, under act of 1909.
ZINC OR SPELTER, IN ORE, CALAMINE.