Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

GIS for focus areas of potential domestic resources of 11 critical minerals-aluminum, cobalt, graphite, lithium, niobium, platinum group elements, rare earth elements, tantalum, tin, titanium, and tungsten (version 2.0, August 2020)

August 3, 2021

In response to Executive Order 13817 of December 20, 2017, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) coordinated with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to identify 35 nonfuel minerals or mineral materials considered critical to the economic and national security of the United States (U.S.) (https://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2018/1021/ofr20181021.pdf). Acquiring information on possible domestic sources of these critical minerals is the rationale for the USGS Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI). The program, which partners the USGS with State Geological Surveys, federal agencies, and the private sector, aims to collect new geological, geophysical, and topographic (lidar) data in key areas of the U.S. to stimulate mineral exploration and production of critical minerals. The first phase of Earth MRI focused on the study of rare-earth elements (REE) (https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/ofr20191023A). Phase 2 version 2 focuses on the following minerals: aluminum, cobalt, graphite, lithium, niobium, platinum group elements (PGE), rare earth elements, tantalum, tin, titanium, and tungsten. The USGS has identified broad areas within the U.S. to target acquisition of geologic mapping, geophysical data, and (or) detailed topographic information to aid research, mineral exploration, and evaluation of mineral potential in these areas. Focus areas were defined using existing geologic data including data on known deposits in the U.S. The focus areas are provided as geospatial data supported by tables that summarize what is known about the mineral potential and brief descriptions of data gaps that could be addressed by the Earth MRI program. A full discussion of Earth MRI and the rationale and methods used to develop the geospatial data are provided in the report by Hammarstrom, J.M., and others (in review).