Utah mineral production drops to $3.5 billion

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The value of non-fuel mineral production in Utah fell 25 percent in 2012, slipping to $3.5 billion and making the state's mining industry the nation's seventh largest.

Formerly No. 4 in mineral production, Utah's output came primarily in copper, molybdenum, gold, potash and magnesium, according to the annual report released Thursday by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The survey's National Minerals Information Center reported that the production of 90 minerals essential to the economy rose for the third straight year to $76.5 billion, an increase of $1.7 billion over the preceding year. Leading the nation was Nevada, which produced $11.2 billion in gold, copper, silver and other metals, representing about 15 percent of the nation's mining output.

With three operations in production and a few others proposed, Utah remains a top-three potash producer. Copper production climbed 4 percent, but output dipped in Utah, the nation's No. 2 producer.

While U.S. production and prices increased for most industrial minerals, such as limestone and silica, production of nearly all other metals declined, according to the report.