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Selected highlights from the 2012 USGS Minerals Commodities report Abrasives, manufactured The United States manufacturing sector strongly influences the markets for manufactured abrasives—fused aluminum oxide and silicon carbide—particularly in the aerospace, automotive, furniture, housing, and steel industries. In the US and Canada, two companies produced 10,000 tons of fused alumina valued at $1.7 million in 2012. Likewise, two companies produced 35,000 tons of silicon carbide abrasives in 2012 valued at $26 million. In 2012 China was the world’s leading producer of manufactured abrasives. Plants operating nearly at capacity produced 695,000 tons of fused alumina and 450,000 tons of silicon carbide. Domestic resources of raw materials to produce fused alumina are limited. However, adequate resources exist in the Western Hemisphere. Domestic resources are more than adequate to produce silicon carbide. Imports, especially from China, and high operating costs continue to challenge North American abrasives manufacturers, who are likely to further curtail production. Bauxite and alumina As in previous years, nearly all bauxite consumed in the United States in 2012 was imported, and more than 95 percent was converted to alumina. More than 90 percent of the alumina went to primary aluminum smelters, leaving less than 10 percent for nonmetallurgical uses, such as abrasives, chemicals, and refractories. Annual US alumina production capacity was 5.64 million tons, with four Bayer refineries operating throughout the year. Globally, alumina production increased by five percent in 2012 over 2011 levels. Worldwide bauxite production increased slightly in 2012 compared with 2011 with increased production levels in Australia, Brazil, China, Guinea, and India. However, the increases were largely offset by declining production in Indonesia, which enacted strict mine export tariffs during 2012. Boron Two companies in southern California produced borates in 2012, and most of the boron products consumed in the United States were manufactured domestically. In 2012, the glass and ceramics industries remained the leading domestic users of boron products, consuming an estimated 80 percent of the total borates marketplace. Boron also was used as a component in abrasives, cleaning products, insecticides, and in the production of semiconductors. Global consumption of borates is expected to increase in 2012 and the coming years, spurred by strong demand Submit Today! ELECTRONIC MATERIALS AND APPLICATIONS 2014 Jan. 22-24 DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at Sea World® | Orlando, Fla., USA www.ceramics.org/ema2014 EMA 2014 Symposia – Functional and Multifunctional Electro- ceramics for Commercialization – Multiferroic Materials and Multilayer Ferroic Heterostructures: Properties and Applications – Structure of Emerging Perovskite Oxides: Bridging Length Scales and Unifying Experiment and Theory – LEDs and Photovoltaics—Beyond the Light: Common Challenges and Opportu- nities – Structure and Properties of Interfaces in Electronic Materials – Thermoelectrics: Defect Chemistry, Doping and Nanoscale Effects – Computational Design of Electronic Materials – Advances in Memory Devices – Thin Film Integration and Processing Science – Ceramic Composites for Defense Applications – Failure: The Greatest Teacher – Recent Developments in High- Temperature Superconductivity – Highlights of Undergraduate Student Research in Basic Science and Electronic Ceramics – Highlights of Student Research in Basic Science and Electronic Ceramics: Best Student Presentation Finalists American Ceramic Society Bulletin, Vol. 92, No. 6 | www.ceramics.org 25


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