In 1963 the domestic production of primary mercury was less than one-fourth of the domestic consumption, largely because a series of years of declining price led to the closing of most of the domestic mines. During 1963 and 1964 the U.S. price, which usually responds to world price, increased from $180 to about $500 a flask. Should the fluctuation in price and production conform to a previously established pattern, the response of the domestic industry to an increased
price will be a predictable increase in production. If the price averages $300 a flask for 1 year or more, annual production may increase to a rate of 30,000-35,000 flasks in 1966 or 1967. If the price averages $400 a flask, production may increase to 45,000-50,000 flasks a year after a timelag of two or three years. New ore bodies would have to be found however, to attain these rates of production, and the mining of lower grade ores would be needed to sustain them for more than a few years. By 1966 the U.S. economy will require at least 67 000 flasks, and the domestic demand for mercury thereafter will continue to increase. The probability that domestic mines will continue to supply a fourth or more of the domestic consumption is dependent upon the price of mercury for the next few years. The outlook for the long-term supply is reassuring, but it is dependent, not only upon price, but upon continued progress in new techniques of discovery.