MINERAL SUPPLY CHAIN RISK METHODOLOGY
The United States is highly reliant on imports of many mineral commodities whose production is concentrated in a few countries. This poses a significant risk to the manufacturing sector that uses those mineral commodities. A new USGS report, “Evaluating the Mineral Commodity Supply Risk of the U.S. Manufacturing Sector,” identifies 23 mineral commodities that pose the greatest risk, including cobalt, tantalum, platinum-group metals, and rare earth elements. These and other mineral commodities are used in strategic applications including single-crystal turbine blades deployed near the combustion zone in jet engines.
- Cooling Air
- Blade Platform
- Leading Side (suction side)
- Hot Gas
- Trailing Side (pressure side)
- Stator-rotor Seal
Production of many mineral commodities is highly concentrated in a few countries.
Single-crystal turbine blades are composed of superalloys containing a number of mineral commodities including cobalt, chromium, rhenium, and tantalum which provide the physical and chemical properties that allow for improved design tolerances that increase thrust and enable higher operating temperatures to improve efficiency. They also are coated with yttria-stabilized zirconia and platinum-aluminide to improve thermal stability and extend the life of the blades.
Jet engine turbine blades: an engineering marvel
the Congo (DRC)Democratic
the Congo (DRC)South AfricaSouth AfricaChina56% RHENIUM
from Chile.39% TANTALUM
of the Congo.70% COBALT
of the Congo.72% PLATINUM
South Africa.41% CHROMIUM
South Africa.>95% YTTRIUM
(Illustration of jet plan with lines from turbine blades to elements to countries that produce elements)
Mineral Commodity Net Import Reliance
The United States is highly import reliant for a large and growing number of mineral commodities.
83% RELIANT FOR RHENIUM
100% RELIANTFOR TANTALUM
64% RELIANTFOR COBALT
74% RELIANTFOR PLANTINUM
73% RELIANTFOR CHROMIUM
100% RELIANTFOR YTTRIUM
Assessing Supply Risk
An enhanced methodology for assessing supply risk for the U.S. manufacturing sector has been developed. Supply risk is greatest when:
- U.S. manufacturers rely on foreign sources.
- Foreign supplies are likely to be disrupted.
- The ability of U.S. manufacturers to withstand a disruption is limited.
USGS Mineral Supply Risk Methodology
- The USGS delivers unbiased science and information to increase understanding of ore formation, undiscovered mineral resource potential, production, consumption, and how minerals interact with the environment. For more information, please visit www.usgs.gov.
- Nassar, N.T., Brainard, J., Gulley, A., Manley, R., Matos, G.R., Lederer, G., Bird, L.R., Pineault, D., Alonso, E., Gambogi, J., and Fortier, S.M., 2020, Evaluating the mineral commodity supply risk of the U.S. manufacturing sector: Science Advances, v. 6, p. eaay8647.
- U.S. Geological Survey, 2020, Mineral commodity summaries 2020: U.S. Geological Survey, 200 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ mcs2020.
U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
New Methodology Identifies Mineral Commodities Whose Supply Disruption Poses the Greatest Risk to the U.S. Manufacturing Sector
Risk tool identified 23 mineral commodities whose supply poses the greatest risk, including those used in consumer electronics, renewable energy, aerospace, and defense applications.