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STATES, 1923–PART II
SULPHUR AND PYRITES
By H. M. MEYER
The leading events in the sulphur industry in 1923 were the agreement between the American sulphur producers and the Sicilian Sulphur Consortium, regulating the world's sulphur market, and the entrance into the sulphur industry of a new producing property, at Hoskins Mound, in Brazoria County, Tex., operated by the Freeport Sulphur Co.
The agreement mentioned, which is described in Mineral Resources for 1922, assigns North America to the American producers, Italy to the Sicilian producers, and the remainder of the world proportionately between the two, with the provision that Sicily may sell to any country a maximum of 65,000 tons for the manufacture of sulphuric acid. The agreement permits Sicily to export annually a total of 210,000 tons, including the 65,000 tons for sulphuric acid. It is valid until September 30, 1926, but may be dissolved before that time by not less than six months' notice with the proviso that the dissolution may not occur during the sulphur selling season,
The Texas Co., according to Charles E. Herrman, vice president, while drilling for oil some years ago at Hoskins Mound, encountered rich strata of sulphur at depths ranging from 800 to 1,500 feet. Wells were drilled to prove a minimum of 6,000,000 tons of recoverable sulphur. Not wishing to engage in the sulphur business, the Texas Co. entered into an agreement with the Freeport Sulphur Co. on March 14, 1922, for the development of the deposit. The Texas Co. is to receive an amount corresponding to 50 per cent of the net profits until the Freeport Co. has realized out of the remaining 50 per cent the amount of its investment in the plant, with interest at 6 per cent a year, and thereafter an amount corresponding to 70 per cent of the net profits. The agreement provides that not less than onehalf the sulphur sold by the Freeport Co. or any of its affiliated companies during any fiscal period shall be sulphur from Hoskins
Mound, if sulphur of suitable quality is found there. The Houston & Brazos Valley Railway has been extended to Hoskins Mound, and a plant costing over $2,500,000 has been built.
The Texas Gulf Sulphur Co. has completed a new sulphur-loading plant at Galveston, Tex. The plant consists of two concrete storage bins 600 feet long and 60 feet wide, holding 35,000 tons of crude sulphur, and a series of belt conveyors that carry the material to the top of a tower, whence it is run into the hold of a ship through an aluminum spout. The main conveyor runs the full length of the bins, and on each side of it is a railway track. Two locomotive cranes and a movable hopper straddle the conveyor. The cranes unload the gondolas into the bins and also feed the hopper from the bins. All the machinery is electrically driven. During the initial run of this plant sulphur was loaded at the rate of 540 tons an hour.
The production of sulphur increased from 1,830,942 long tons in 1922 to 2,036,097 tons in 1923, and the shipments increased from 1,343,624 to 1,618,841 tons. Both production and shipments reached new high levels in 1923, the previous records being 1,879,150 long tons produced in 1921 and 1,517,625 long tons shipped in 1920. The estimated value of the sulphur shipped in 1923 is $26,000,000, compared with $22,000,000 for 1922, at approximately the same rate per ton. As usual, the Texas Gulf Sulphur Co. and the Freeport Sulphur Co., of Texas, and the Union Sulphur Co., of Louisiana, produced over 99.9 per cent of the output of sulphur in the United States. Besides these companies, one each in California, Nevada, and Utah contributed to the production of the country.
Stocks, which amounted to nearly 2,500,000 long tons at the end of 1922, increased to nearly 2,900,000 tons at the end of 1923— practically 1.8 times the shipments for the year, so that if production should cease entirely, shipments from stocks could be maintained at the record high rate of 1923 for nearly two years.
Sulphur produced and shipped in the United States, 1917–1923
The chief producing companies are continually investigating new outlets for their product. The following list of uses and industries employing sulphur has been compiled from lists prepared by the research departments of the three large sulphur companies, and though not complete it gives a good idea of the numerous uses to which sulphur and its compounds are put:
IMPORTS AND EXPORTS 2
The imports of crude and refined sulphur in 1923 amounted to 1,042,458 pounds, valued at $21,535. The exports of sulphur in 1923 fell to 474,475 long tons, a decrease of 13,494 tons from the exports in 1922. The exports in 1922, however, were the highest ever attained, and those in 1923 were second only to those for 1922 and 1920.
Although the customs districts from which crude sulphur was cleared in 1923 are distributed around the entire border of the country, practically all the sulphur exported was produced by the large mines in Texas and Louisiana.
? Statistics of imports and exports have been compiled by J. A. Dorsey, of the U. S. Geological Survey, from records of the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce.
Sulphur exported from the United States in 1923, by destination
European countries, headed by France, Germany, England, and Spain, received 52 per cent of the crude sulphur exported from the United States in 1923, compared with 60 per cent in 1922. Canada received 27 per cent, compared with 22 per cent in 1922, which was the largest amount shipped to any one country. Australia received the only other large amount, approximately 11 per cent. Exports to Canada increased from 107,974 long tons in 1922 to 127,971 tons in 1923; to France from 93,168 to 98,827 tons; to Germany from 63,164 to 83,821 tons; to Australia from 48,825 to 50,530 tons; to Belgium from 5,012 to 10,800 tons; and those to England decreased from 38,068 to 29,953 tons. There were no exports to Sweden in 1923, although 41,325 long tons of sulphur was exported to that country in 1922.