Mineral Resources Program

Critical Mineral Resources

Demand for critical mineral commodities is on the rise with increasing applications in consumer products such as phones and tablets. Research and assessment activities address the need for more up-to-date information on the nation's and the world's critical mineral resources.

Due to a lapse in appropriations, the majority of USGS websites may not be up to date and may not reflect current conditions. Websites displaying real-time data, such as Earthquake and Water and information needed for public health and safety will be updated with limited support. Additionally, USGS will not be able to respond to inquiries until appropriations are enacted.  For more information, please see www.doi.gov/shutdown

Filter Total Items: 12
Date published: June 29, 2018
Status: Active

Geochemical Signatures and Environmental Impacts of Ore and Trace Mineralization in the Southern Midcontinent

The overall project objective is a comprehensive analysis of the natural and anthropogenic consequences of extensive ore and trace mineralization in the southern midcontinent of the U.S. This will be conducted at two scales: 1) landscape and 2) process-level.

1) Landscape scale using geospatial and machine learning techniques to combine multiple geochemical and geologic data sets and...

Date published: June 19, 2018
Status: Active

Critical Elements in Carbonatites: From Exploration Targets to Element Distribution

Critical elements are essential to the economy and have potential supply chain disruptions, but compared to most base and precious metals, little work has been done in understanding ore-grade enrichments. Carbonatites are the primary source of the worlds light rare earth elements and niobium, and a potential source for heavy rare earths, scandium, tantalum, and thorium. Project objectives are...

Date published: June 18, 2018
Status: Active

Critical Commodity Studies, Stillwater Complex, Montana

Scientific research can make our resource assessments of critical minerals more effective. This project focuses on the Stillwater Complex, Montana, which has rocks enriched in platinum-group elements (PGE), chromium, cobalt, and nickel. Project objectives are to update databases, evaluate new mapping techniques, document new styles of mineralization, and document and support research on the...

Date published: June 18, 2018
Status: Active

Alaska Resource Data File

The Alaska Resource Data File (ARDF) site provides descriptions of mines, prospects, and mineral occurrences for individual U.S. Geological Survey 1:250,000-scale quadrangles in Alaska.

Date published: May 25, 2018
Status: Active

Tellurium in Igneous-related Epithermal Precious Metal Deposits in Colorado and New Mexico

The project aims to improve our understanding of the causes of tellurium enrichment in epithermal precious metal deposits, and strengthen our ability to assess the Nation's tellurium deposits. Tellurium is used in solar panel technologies and is considered a critical mineral. Epithermal deposits of this type represent a prospective future source of tellurium.

Date published: May 25, 2018
Status: Active

Mineral Commodity Fact Sheets

The Mineral Resources Program publishes fact sheets on selected important commodities. These fact sheets teach about commodities and the important role each one plays in the national economy, national security, and lives of Americans every day.

Date published: May 22, 2018
Status: Active

Petrology, Tectonic Setting, and Potential for Concentration of Rare Earth Elements (REE) and High Field Strength Elements (HFSE) in the High-K Darby and Kachauik Plutons, Seward Peninsula, Alaska

One of the geologic environments that host rare earth and other critical and strategic element deposits are alkaline intrusive rocks.

Date published: May 22, 2018
Status: Active

GIS-based Analysis of Potential for Concentrations of Mineral Commodities in Alaska

Alaska is dominated by a history of tectonic events that foster mobilization and concentration of a wide variety of mineral commodities that are critical to the US economy and are vital to national defense, renewable-energy, and emerging electronics technologies.

Date published: May 8, 2018
Status: Active

Rare Earth Element Deposits in the Southeast Mojave Desert

In an effort to better understand domestic resource potential, the USGS is investigating the genetic relationship among three rare earth element deposits in the southeast Mojave Desert: Music Valley (Pinto Mountains, California), Thor (New York Mountains, Nevada), and the world-class rare earth element deposit at Mountain Pass, California. Such a combined study would significantly improve our...

Contacts: David Ponce
Date published: May 8, 2018
Status: Active

Continental Scale Geophysics — Integrated Approaches to Delineate Prospective Environments for Critical Metals

Regional geophysical data that are available over continental scales such as magnetic, gravity, and magnetotelluric data can provide a foundation towards identifying and understanding the footprints and deep plumbing systems underlying these important ore systems. Our project will use continental-scale geophysical data to map the locations of deep crustal and mantle structures that may act as...

Date published: April 10, 2018
Status: Active

Lithium Clays as a Source of Lithium and a Buffer for Lithium Concentration in Brines

We are collaborating with academic and industry geologists to develop a predictive model for lithium partitioning between lithium-bearing clays and lithium brines. We are conducting laboratory experiments to measure lithium partitioning between clays and brines. Experimental results will be compared with real-world data to learn whether this model may be used as an exploration tool for...

Date published: April 2, 2018
Status: Active

Heavy-Mineral Sand Resources in the Southeastern U.S.

We are assessing the extent of industrial mineral resources hosted by heavy-mineral sands in the coastal plain of the southeastern United States. “Heavy-mineral sands" (HMS) is a term commonly used in industry and geologic literature to describe layered sediments deposited in coastal environments that contain dense (“heavy") minerals of economic value. The heavy minerals extracted from these...