USGS Mineral Deposit Database

Science Center Objects

We are updating the national mineral deposit database with accurate and current information on mineral occurrences and mines in a format readily usable for geospatial analysis, in order to meet the needs of potential users of mineral resources information. The geospatial database will include information on geology, production, resources, history, and development status. The initial focus has been on the western states, with plans to eventually collect data for all of the U.S.

data location map

Prospect- and mine-related features from USGS topographic maps.

(Public domain.)

Science Issue and Relevance

One of the key missions of the USGS Mineral Resources Program is the collection and dissemination of mineral resources information. This information is used by the USGS, other government agencies (State and Federal), private industry and the general public. An accurate, up-to-date mineral deposit database utilizing current geospatial technologies is needed to meet the needs of USGS research, state and federal land management agencies, private industry, and the general public.

In the 1960's, the USGS and the U.S. Bureau of Mines developed national-scale mine and mineral deposit databases. After the Bureau of Mine's 1996 closure, the USGS acquired custody of their Minerals Availability System (MAS) and Minerals Industry Location System (MILS) databases. In 2000, the MAS/MILS was merged with the USGS Mineral Resource Data System (MRDS) to form a single database. Much of the data initially captured in the Mineral Resource Data System was recorded prior to the development and widespread use of modern geospatial technologies. Additionally, differing data entry procedures of both Bureau of Mines and USGS resulted in different outcomes. Due to these issues, it was decided that the mineral resources database of the U.S. needed to be modernized.

Methodology to Address the Issue

Our goals are to update the national mineral deposit database with accurate and current information on mineral occurrences and mines in a format readily usable for geospatial analysis, in order to meet the needs of potential users of mineral resources information. The geospatial database will include information on geology, production, resources, history, and development status. The initial focus has been on the western states, with plans to eventually collect data for all of the U.S.