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The Center conducts analyses of and develops information on minerals-related issues, including minerals conservation, sustainability, availability, materials flow, and the economic health of the U.S. minerals industry. 

Filter Total Items: 583

Analyzing spatial distributions and alignments of pitted cone features in Utopia Planitia on Mars

Martian geomorphology and surface features provide links to understanding past geologic processes such as fluid movement, local and regional tectonics, and feature formation mechanisms. Pitted cones are common features in the northern plains basins of Mars. They have been proposed to have formed from upwelling volatile-rich fluids, such as magma or water-sediment slurries. In this study, we map th
Mackenzie M. Mills, Alfred S. McEwen, Amanda N. Hughes, Ji-Eun Kim, Chris Okubo

Rare earth element sources, end-use demand trends, and hydrometallurgical separations

Rare earth elements are increasing in demand due to the movement towards electrification. In particular, there is a growing need for high performance rare earth permanent magnets for motors and generators used to convert electrical energy to mechanical energy, and vice versa. Current trends in rare earth demand are reviewed and discussed as the specific rare earth metal demand can influence the ch
James Vaughan, Vitor L. Gontijo, Rick Valenta, Elisa Alonso

China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and artisanal cobalt mining from 2000 through 2020

From 2000 through 2020, demand for cobalt to manufacture batteries grew 26-fold. Eighty-two percent of this growth occurred in China and China’s cobalt refinery production increased 78-fold. Diminished industrial cobalt mine production in the early-to-mid 2000s led many Chinese companies to purchase ores from artisanal cobalt miners in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), many of whom have
Andrew L. Gulley

Rock-to-metal ratios of the rare earth elements

The relative quantities of ore mined and waste rock (i.e., overburden) removed to produce the rare earth elements—their rock-to-metal ratios—were calculated for 21 individual operations or regions covering nearly all mine production in 2018. The results indicate that the rock-to-metal ratios for the total rare earth elements ranged from a low of 1.6 × 101 to a high of 3.6 × 103, with operations in
Nedal T. Nassar, Graham W. Lederer, Abraham De Jesus Padilla, Joseph Gambogi, Daniel James Cordier, Jaime L. Brainard, Joseph D. Lessard, Ryan Charab

Mineral commodity summaries 2023

Each mineral commodity chapter of the 2023 edition of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Mineral Commodity Summaries (MCS) includes information on events, trends, and issues for each mineral commodity as well as discussions and tabular presentations on domestic industry structure, Government programs, tariffs, 5-year salient statistics, and world production, reserves, and resources. The MCS is the

Mapping first to final uses for rare earth elements, globally and in the United States

Estimating the material flows of rare earth elements (REEs) is essential to understanding which industries are most vulnerable to potential REE supply disruptions which, in turn, may inform policy recommendations aimed at reducing the supply risk. However, the REEs are a group of mineral commodities characterized by highly uncertain estimates of supply and demand due to the REE market's complexity
Elisa Alonso, David G. Pineault, Joseph Gambogi, Nedal T. Nassar

Dynamic material flow analysis of tantalum in the United States from 2002 to 2020

Tantalum has received considerable attention due to risks associated with its supply chain. In 2020 ∼70% of global tantalum supply originated in Africa, with 40% produced in the Democratic Republic of Congo alone. The United States has relied entirely on imports since the 1950s. However, quantifying total domestic consumption is problematic because refined tantalum compounds do not have unique tar
Abraham De Jesus Padilla, Nedal T. Nassar

Materials flow in the United States—A global context, 1900–2020

IntroductionDuring the last 12 decades (1900–2020), the amounts of raw materials used in the United States have increased significantly due to economic development, technological innovations, and population growth. Data on materials are presented here to provide an overview of the annual quantities (measured in physical terms) required for the standard of living in the United States and to provide
Grecia R. Matos

Embedded critical material flow: The case of niobium, the United States, and China

Niobium, often classified as critical, is typically embedded within steels essential for infrastructure and transportation. Most niobium-consuming countries are import-dependent on primary stage niobium, meaning traditional material flow analysis, which often excludes critical commodities embedded within products of large-scale industries, would miss important flows in the fabrication and manufact
Dalton Miles Mccaffrey, Nedal T. Nassar, Simon M. Jowitt, Abraham De Jesus Padilla, Laurence R. Bird

Streamlined approach for assessing embedded consumption of lithium and cobalt in the United States

In today's complex global supply chains, time and data intensive analyses are required to understand global flows of mineral commodities from mine to consumer, particularly for mineral commodities in products (electronics, automobiles, etc.) that contain multiple parts with many mineral commodities. National and regional analyses require additional time and data to incorporate international trade
Elisa Alonso, David G. Pineault, Nedal T. Nassar

One hundred years of cobalt production in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Cobalt is an indispensable element for the manufacture of strategic technologies including advanced batteries, jet engines, rare-earth permanent magnets, petroleum catalysts, and tool parts that enable construction, manufacturing, and mining. Cobalt routinely scores high in mineral supply risk assessments due to the concentration of cobalt mine production in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (D
Andrew L. Gulley

A model to assess industry vulnerability to disruptions in mineral commodity supplies

Mineral commodity supply disruptions have the potential to ripple through and impact the economy in many ways. Industrial vulnerability is a crucial component of mineral commodity criticality tools as it provides guidance on the economic importance of these commodities to regional criticality indices. Using an economic model that links mineral commodity end-use data to input-output tables and a li
Ross Manley, Elisa Alonso, Nedal T. Nassar