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: 36
Date published: May 8, 2018
Status: Completed

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: Completed

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: Completed

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...

Date published: September 30, 2016
Status: Completed

Petrogenesis and REE Metallogenesis of 1.4 Ga Magmatism in the Conterminous U.S.

This project evaluated the petrology and metallogeny of rare earth element-mineralized 1.4 Ga intrusive systems at Mountain Pass and in the St. Francois Mountains relative to those of other, apparently, unmineralized 1.4 Ga intrusive systems in the conterminous U.S.

Date published: September 30, 2016
Status: Completed

Fluids in Rare Earth Element (REE) Ore Genesis

The project objective is to better understand the role fluids play in the formation of ore-grade rare earth element enrichment. In many rare earth element deposits, enrichment of rare earth elements is largely controlled by their transport in fluids (orthomagmatic, hydrothermal, groundwater). The project focuses on carbonatite-related deposits because these deposits are the world's primary...

Date published: September 30, 2015
Status: Completed

Critical Metals in Black Shales

Project objectives were to improve the understanding of critical mineral enrichment in black shales and improve accuracy of resource assessments.

Date published: September 30, 2015
Status: Completed

Alaska Critical Minerals Cooperative

The project developed means to use several large legacy digital databases together in GIS to identify areas with mineral resource potential for critical minerals in Alaska.

Contacts: Timothy Hayes
Date published: September 30, 2015
Status: Completed

Bokan Mountain and Dora Bay Rare Earth Element Deposits, Prince of Wales Island, Alexander Terrane, Southeast Alaska

We sought to characterize the Dotson Zone heavy-rare earth element (HREE) enriched deposit at Bokan Mountain, Alaska, and conduct a parallel characterization and comparison of a less well-mineralized HREE analogue at Dora Bay, Alaska.

Contacts: Cliff D Taylor
Date published: September 30, 2015
Status: Completed

United States Critical Mineral Resources in a Global Context

USGS updated a report on U.S. mineral resources for selected critical mineral commodites. This report updates USGS Professional Paper 820 (1973), which was published when many of the commodities that are covered in this new volume were only of minor importance. Today, advanced technologies have increased the demand for and production of mineral commodities for nearly all elements in the...

Contacts: Klaus J Schulz, Dwight Bradley
Date published: September 30, 2015
Status: Completed

Geophysical and Geochemical Approaches to Evaluating Rare Earth Element (REE) Potential in the Southeastern U.S.

Rare-earth elements (REE) are an essential component of numerous advanced technology applications including high efficiency batteries, emerging energy technologies, and key defense systems. The goal of this study was to assist in the evaluation of the distribution of rare earth element deposits in the southeastern U.S., with a focus on sediment-hosted resources. 

Contacts: Anjana K Shah
Date published: September 30, 2015
Status: Completed

Airborne Geophysics for Rare Earth Element Deposits (AGREED)

The USGS Airborne Geophysics for Rare Earth Element Deposits (AGREED) project coordinated with industry to use high resolution airborne geophysical data collected over some of the advanced rare earth element (REE) projects in the U.S. These data were analyzed, interpreted and modeled to generate an improved understanding of the geologic setting, framework, and ore genesis for REE deposits. In...

Date published: September 30, 2014
Status: Completed

Mineral Resources External Research Program

In 2004, the Mineral Resources Program introduced an External Research Program, which ran through 2014. This grant and/or cooperative agreement opportunity was available to universities, state agencies, industry, or other private sector organizations that had the ability to conduct research in topics that met the goals of the Mineral Resources Program.