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What is a critical mineral?

The Energy Act of 2020 defined critical minerals as those which are essential to the economic or national security of the United States; have a supply chain that is vulnerable to disruption; and serve an essential function in the manufacturing of a product, the absence of which would have significant consequences for the economic or national security of the U.S. The act further specified that critical minerals do not include fuel minerals; water, ice, or snow; or common varieties of sand, gravel, stone, pumice, cinders, and clay. 

Mineral criticality is not static, but changes over time as supply and demand dynamics evolve, import reliance changes, and new technologies are developed. The 2022 list of critical minerals/elements includes the following:

Aluminum Dysprosium Indium Palladium Terbium
Antimony Erbium Iridium Platinum Thulium
Arsenic Europium Lanthanum Praseodymium Tin
Barite Fluorspar Lithium Rhodium Titanium
Beryllium Gadolinium Lutetium Rubidium Tungsten
Bismuth Gallium Magnesium Ruthenium Vanadium
Cerium Germanium Manganese Samarium Ytterbium
Cesium Graphite  Neodymium Scandium Yttrium
Chromium Hafnium Nickel Tantalum Zinc
Cobalt Holmium Niobium Tellurium Zirconium

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