US gold and silver production dips, copper jumps

The latest quarterly report by the US Geological Survey shows a continued downtick in American production of silver and gold, but a jump in copper production.

US mines produced 60.8 tonnes (2.1 million ounces) of gold in the final quarter of 2013, down from 61.5 tonnes produced over the same period in 2012, but up sharply on the 54.6 tonnes produced in the first quarter of this year.

On an annual basis recoverable gold mined in the US decline by 4 tonnes to 231 tonnes, placing the country third on the list of top producer behind Australia and just ahead of Russia.

Mines in the US produced 251 tonnes (8.8 million ounces) of silver in Q4 2013, down 10.7% year on year. For 2013 as a whole, output was 1,040 tonnes, down from 1,060 tonnes in 2012, said the Geological Survey.

While the fourth quarter showed a decline, overall production in the US of copper grew 5% to 1.23 million tonnes in 2013 compared to the year before. The increase came despite the massive landslide at Utah’s Bingham Canyon mine early in the year that closed the mine for a prolonged time.

Mine production of 14 mineral commodities was worth more than $1 billion each in the U.S. in 2013. These were, in decreasing order of value, crushed stone, gold, copper, cement, construction sand and gravel, iron ore (shipped), molybdenum concentrates, phosphate rock, industrial sand and gravel, lime, soda ash, salt, zinc, and clays (all types).

In 2013, 12 states each produced more than $2 billion worth of nonfuel mineral commodities. These states were, in descending order of value—Nevada, Arizona, Minnesota, Florida, Texas, Alaska, Utah, California, Wyoming, Missouri, Michigan, and Colorado. The mineral production of these states accounted for 64% of the U.S. total output value.