Hungary - Mining



In 2002, mining and the production of construction materials ranked first and third among Hungary's industries. Hungary produced modest amounts of fossil fuels and industrial minerals, cement and coal being the dominant components of industrial minerals and mineral fuels. Although crude raw material exports rose by 16.2% in 2000, and contributed 1.9% of export revenues in 2001, the country relied heavily on imported mineral raw materials—the combined value of imports of raw materials and fuels exceeded that of exports almost threefold. The GDP grew by 5.5% in 2000, while the value of output by the mining and processing sector declined by 10%. Construction aggregates and cement continued to play an important role in Hungary's economy, especially in view of the modernization process necessary for the country's infrastructure, for which planned highway construction through 2008 would be an important element. Mineral reserves were small and generally inadequate.

Bauxite mining and refining to alumina, as well as manganese mining, remained the only metal mining and processing operations in Hungary in 2000. Production of bauxite, found in various parts of western Hungary, was 1.046 million tons in 2000, compared with 935,000 in 1999, 743,000 tons in 1997, and 1.056 million tons in 1996; annual capacity was 1.5 million tons. Total resources of bauxite were estimated to be 26 million tons, of which commercial reserves amounted to 16 million tons. Bakony Bauxitbany Kft. constituted Hungary's bauxite mining industry in 2000, with its Fenyofo I and Halimba III underground mines and the Bicske and Obarok open pits. In 2000, Hungary also produced 15,000 tons of manganese ore concentrate (gross weight), down from 33,813 in 1996; 200,000 tons of gypsum and anhydrite; and 500,000 tons of calcined lime. In addition, Hungary produced alumina (calcined basis), bentonite, common clays, diatomite, kaolin, nitrogen, perlite, refractory materials (chamotte and chrome magnesite products), sand (common, foundry, and glass) and gravel, dimension stone, dolomite, limestone, sulfuric acid, and talc. Although Hungary no longer mined copper, past surveys of the deep-lying Recsk copper ore body, in the Matra mountains, discovered 172–175 million tons of copper ore at a grade of 1.12% copper and about 20 million tons of polymetallic ore at a grade of 4.22% lead and 0.92% zinc as well as smaller quantities of gold, molybdenum, and silver. After failing to attract foreign investment, the exploration shaft and adit at Recsk was closed, the equipment removed, and the facilities flooded in 1999. Exploration for gold in the Recsk region continued in 2000, as 35 million tons of gold-bearing enargite copper ore was delineated with a grade of 1.47 grams per ton of gold.

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