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.

Filter Total Items: 39
Date published: August 23, 2021
Status: Active

Geophysics of Precambrian Terranes, Upper Midwest and Rocky Mountains

The project objective is to provide follow-up geophysical ground data acquisition and interpretation for areas involving Precambrian geologic settings in the Upper Midwest and Rocky Mountains. The project is designed fill gaps and to complement the high-quality aeromagnetic acquired during the USGS Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI).

Date published: August 4, 2021
Status: Active

Critical Minerals Mapping Initiative (CMMI)

The USGS, in combination with Geoscience Australia and the Geological Survey of Canada, formed the Critical Minerals Mapping Initiative (CMMI) in 2019 to combine expertise and collaboratively conduct research on critical mineral resources.

Date published: August 20, 2020
Status: Active

Spectroscopy and Hyperspectral Imaging of Critical Mineral Resources

Our project will characterize the primary critical minerals (minerals that contain critical elements in their base structure) that are not yet in the USGS Spectral Library. We propose to increase understanding of the spectral indicators of critical minerals using lab-based studies of hand specimens and drill core, hyperspectral field scanning, and hyperspectral images collected from aircraft...

Date published: June 19, 2020
Status: Completed

Critical Elements in Carbonatites: From Exploration Targets to Element Distribution

Critical elements are essential to the modern 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...

Date published: October 1, 2019
Status: Active

Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI)

The goal of Earth MRI is to improve our knowledge of the geologic framework in the United States and to identify areas that may have the potential to contain undiscovered critical mineral resources. Enhancement of our domestic mineral supply will decrease the Nation’s reliance on foreign sources of minerals that are fundamental to our security and economy.

Date published: September 30, 2019
Status: Completed

Sediment-Hosted Copper Deposits in the Lake Superior Portion of the Midcontinent Rift System

This project is focused on the sediment-hosted copper deposits of the Midcontinent Rift, with three main objectives: 1) describe the ore mineralogy and geochemistry of the White Pine and Copperwood deposits, 2) evaluate whether hydrothermal alteration in footwall rocks can be used as a vector towards ore, and 3) provide a careful scoping study to evaluate whether unconventional platinum-group...

Date published: September 25, 2019
Status: Active

Alaska Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI)

Our objective is to provide a strategic framework for planning, coordination, and execution of the USGS Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI) in Alaska. Earth MRI aims to improve knowledge of the U.S. geologic framework through new geological and geophysical mapping and to identify areas that have the potential to contain undiscovered critical mineral resources.

Date published: July 9, 2019
Status: Active

Spectral Characteristics and Mapping of Lithium-rich Playas for Use in Western U.S. Basin and Range Mineral Assessment of Lithium

Project objectives are to compile and examine mineral maps of the known lithium-bearing playas in the U.S., Chile, and Argentina using field and remote sensing data to better understand the mineralogy of these deposits. After mineral assemblages are identified, mineral maps for lithium-rich plays will be compiled using ASTER data.

Contacts: Lyle Mars
Date published: July 8, 2019
Status: Active

Lithium from Source to Sink: Genesis and Evolution of Li Brines and Clays

The purpose of this project is to trace the lithium (Li) geochemical cycle in the Great Basin, with an emphasis on the pathways that lead to the development of lithium clay and brine resources.

Date published: July 8, 2019
Status: Active

Concealed Rare Earth Element (REE) Terranes in the Southern Basin and Range Geologic Province

We are working to develop an understanding of the types, sizes, and spatial distribution of rare-earth element (REE) related deposits in the Southern Basin and Range geologic province to help ensure the availability of REEs to industry in the United States. Geologic, geophysical, and geochemical data acquired will be used to develop permissive tracts for REE related deposits and to define...

Contacts: Mark Bultman
Date published: July 3, 2019
Status: Active

Unconventional Stratabound Critical Mineral Deposits of the Midcontinent: Linkages Between Mineralization in Marine Epicontinental Sedimentary Basin Systems

This project will evaluate and characterize the critical mineral potential of midcontinent stratabound "Bathtub Rim" deposits for rare earth elements, cobalt, lithium, and associated critical mineral prospectivity and to develop and test new ore genesis models.

Contacts: Poul Emsbo
Date published: July 2, 2019
Status: Active

Volcanic-related Beryllium Deposits of the US: Geologic Setting, Genesis, and the Potential for Post-Extraction Recovery of By-Product Critical Minerals

Project objectives are: 1) to fully establish a comprehensive and robust geologic and geochemical framework for the occurrence of volcanic-related beryllium (Be) deposits; 2) further our understanding of the fundamental ore processes that lead to formation of volcanogenic beryllium (Be)-boron (B)-lithium (Li)-phosphorus (P) group deposits, by investigating processes favorable for enhanced...

Contacts: Nora Foley