Description : As the importance and dependence of specific mineral commodities increase, so does concern about their supply. The United States is currently 100 percent reliant on foreign sources for 20 mineral commodities and imports the majority of its supply of more than 50 mineral commodities. Mineral commodities that have important uses and face potential supply disruption are critical to American economic and national security. However, a mineral commodity's importance and the nature of its supply chain can change with time; a mineral commodity that may not have been considered critical 25 years ago may be critical today, and one considered critical today may not be so in the future. The U.S. Geological Survey has produced this volume to describe a select group of mineral commodities currently critical to our economy and security. For each mineral commodity covered, the authors provide a comprehensive look at (1) the commodity's use; (2) the geology and global distribution of the mineral deposit types that account for the present and possible future supply of the commodity; (3) the current status of production, reserves, and resources in the United States and globally; and (4) environmental considerations related to the commodity's production from different types of mineral deposits. The volume describes U.S. critical mineral resources in a global context, for no country can be self-sufficient for all its mineral commodity needs, and the United States will always rely on global mineral commodity supply chains. This volume provides the scientific understanding of critical mineral resources required for informed decisionmaking by those responsible for ensuring that the United States has a secure and sustainable supply of mineral commodities.
Description : Minerals are part of virtually every product we use. Common examples include copper used in electrical wiring and titanium used to make airplane frames and paint pigments. The Information Age has ushered in a number of new mineral uses in a number of products including cell phones (e.g., tantalum) and liquid crystal displays (e.g., indium). For some minerals, such as the platinum group metals used to make cataytic converters in cars, there is no substitute. If the supply of any given mineral were to become restricted, consumers and sectors of the U.S. economy could be significantly affected. Risks to minerals supplies can include a sudden increase in demand or the possibility that natural ores can be exhausted or become too difficult to extract. Minerals are more vulnerable to supply restrictions if they come from a limited number of mines, mining companies, or nations. Baseline information on minerals is currently collected at the federal level, but no established methodology has existed to identify potentially critical minerals. This book develops such a methodology and suggests an enhanced federal initiative to collect and analyze the additional data needed to support this type of tool.