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: 34
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...

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: John 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

The project is developing 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 rare earth elements to the U.S.

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 stratabound deposits for the REE, Co, Li, and associated critical mineral prospectivity in the midcontinent region.

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
Date published: June 28, 2019
Status: Completed

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. with a focus on Missouri. 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...

Date published: June 26, 2019
Status: Active

Critical Mineral Resources in Heavy Mineral Sands of the U.S. Atlantic Coastal Plain

In many parts of the southeastern U.S., dark-colored sands can be seen at beaches or beneath soil. These sands contain titanium, zirconium, and rare earth elements, which are considered critical mineral resources. Such sands are present in areas from the coast to a hundred miles or more inland beneath soil within the...

Contacts: Anjana K Shah
Date published: June 24, 2019
Status: Active

Systems Approach to Critical Minerals Inventory, Research, and Assessment

This project supports the Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (EarthMRI) by developing a mineral systems approach for defining focus areas. This project is investigating domestic sources of critical minerals in three sequential stages: inventory, research, and assessment.

1) Inventory the abundance of critical minerals in ore, minerals, and processed...

Date published: August 9, 2018
Status: Active

Antimony In and Around the Yellow Pine Deposit, Central Idaho

Project objectives are to document the origin of the Yellow Pine gold-antimony deposit and, by extension, the origin of this deposit type. Our goal is to understand the structural, tectonic, and magmatic setting of the deposit, the character of the ore-transporting fluids, the conditions of ore deposition, and the regional stratigraphic framework and geochemical ore controls of metasedimentary...

Date published: August 3, 2018
Status: Active

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...