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Mineral resources


Forestry of Oreon
Forestry of Oreon

Although mining has never played a large role in Oregon’s economy, two areas have at one time or another produced considerable quantities of minerals. One is in the southwestern part of the state, in the Klamath Mountains, and the other is in the northeastern part of the state, on the margin of the Blue Mountains, especially in the John Day Valley and in the vicinity of Baker.

A number of metallic minerals, including nickel, mercury, gold, silver, and copper, have been worked in some quantities. Small gold rushes in the 1850s created a number of boomtowns. Most of the mines have been worked out, have reduced production, or have been closed because of market conditions.

Among the most valuable minerals in Oregon’s economy are sand and gravel, crushed stone, cement, diatomite, lime, and pumice. Basaltic lavas, which are widespread, afford an excellent source for crushed rock. Pumice, in the production of which Oregon ranks first in the nation, is abundant in the central part of the state. Oregon ranks second in the nation in the production of diatomite, a chalky stone formed from the fossilized skeletons of diatoms and often used as an abrasive or as a material for filtering water. The state also produces semiprecious gemstones, including agates, opals, jasper, and petrified wood.

Commercial fishing is one of the oldest industries in Oregon, but it has never employed a large proportion of the population. The commercial catch of fish and shellfish in the mid-1990s was valued at $76 million.

Salmon is the principal commercial fish of Oregon. Other valuable species caught are tuna, crabs, shrimp, and flounder. Since 1938, Oregon has been the largest producer of lumber in the United States. About one-sixth of the softwood lumber produced in the United States comes from Oregon. Forestry and related industries like the production of lumber, pulp, paper, plywood, and furniture provided almost one-fourth the personal income from industry in 1996. Oregon’s forest area covers 10.8 million hectares (26.6 million acres). Most of the commercial timber comes from the western part of the state, where Douglas fir accounts for most of the annual harvest. In the northeastern section of the state, ponderosa pine is the principal timber tree. "Oregon" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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