Boron is produced by the chemical reduction of boron compounds with reactive metals, either by nonaqueous electrolytic reduction or through thermal decomposition. Highly purified boron is produced by zone-refining or other thermal techniques (HSDB) 1989; Stokinger 1981; U.S. Bureau of Mines 1989).
The United States produces most of the world's borates. Production figures for 1988 report 566,093 metric tons of boric oxide equivalent was produced from the mining of boron-containing minerals. Domestic production has remained relatively constant over the last 5 years ranging from a low of 570, 629 metric tons in 1986 to a high of 625,061 metric tons in 1987 (Ferguson et al. 1982; U.S. Bureau of Mines 1989).
United States Borax & Chemical Corporation continues to be the primary world supplier of sodium borates. U.S. Borax mines and processes crude and refined sodium borates, their anhydrous derivatives, and anhydrous boric acid at its plant, in Kern Country, Boron, California. A second plant at Boron, California uses a proprietary process to produce technical-grade boric acid.
Kerr-McGee Chemical Corporation operates the Trona and Westend plants at Searles Lake, in San Bernardino County, to produce refined sodium borate compounds and boric acid from the mineral-rich lake brines.
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