Investigation of U.S. Foreign Reliance on Critical Minerals

Release Date:

In response to Executive Order 13953, September 2020, NMIC staff completed a review of the current state of minerals on the Critical Minerals List, published as “Investigation of U.S. Foreign Reliance on Critical Minerals”, USGS OFR-2020-1127, December 2020.

Over the past few decades (1990–2019), the United States has become reliant on foreign sources to meet domestic demand for a large and growing number of mineral commodities. In combination with recent trends towards progressively concentrated supply of mineral commodities from a limited number of countries, this heightened import reliance may increase the risk to the United States economy and national security. Several factors obscure the true net import reliance of mineral commodities essential to the United States, including indirect trade reliance, embedded trade reliance, and foreign ownership. This report provides a detailed overview of contributions to and trends of these mineral commodity supply risks and provides an outline of the salient factors pertaining to each mineral commodity’s supply chain. It also describes some additional considerations and provides a general framework for evaluating different strategies aimed at reducing net import reliance and supply risk.