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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. 

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Examining industry vulnerability: A focus on mineral commodities used in the automotive and electronics industries

Automotive manufacturing is material-intensive and dependent on a broad range of mineral commodities. Moreover, the automotive manufacturing industries are reliant on complex and sometimes opaque multi-tiered global supply chains. Among the many industries on which automotive supply chains depend are the electronics and semiconductor industries, which are themselves material-intensive and reliant

Global tellurium supply potential from electrolytic copper refining

The transition towards renewable energy requires increasing quantities of nonfuel mineral commodities, including tellurium used in certain photovoltaics. While demand for tellurium may increase markedly, the potential to increase tellurium supply is not well-understood. In this analysis, we estimate the quantity of tellurium contained in anode slimes generated by electrolytic copper refining by co

USGS Critical Minerals Review: 2021

In 2021, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) continued to play a central role in understanding and anticipating potential supply chain disruptions by defining and quantitatively evaluating mineral criticality. In addition, the USGS continued to evaluate new sources of domestic critical minerals by conducting mineral resource assessments, mapping and surveying regions prospective for critical minera

Rock-to-metal ratio: A foundational metric for understanding mine wastes

The quantity of ore mined and waste rock (i.e., overburden or barren rock) removed to produce a refined unit of a mineral commodity, its rock-to-metal ratio (RMR), is an important metric for understanding mine wastes and environmental burdens. In this analysis, we provide a comprehensive examination of RMRs for 25 commodities for 2018. The results indicate significant variability across commoditie