NMIC - 2017 Mineral Commodity Summaries Release

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The National Minerals Information Center, the primary agency for collecting and analyzing nonfuel minerals information, releases the 2017 Mineral Commodity Summaries, a collection of reports on over 85 commodities essential to the U.S. economy and national security.


Date Taken:

Length: 00:05:30

Location Taken: Reston, VA, US

Video Credits

Doug Spencer (Videographer, Technical Specialist)
Erin McCullough (Executive Producer)


Speaker 1:

The National Minerals Information Center at the USGS has been the world’s premiere resource for data on commodities used to develop nations, bring innovations in technology, and improve the quality of life for billions the world over. Our mineral commodities summaries are an annual compilation of domestic production and other salient statistics for over 85 mineral commodities. This data is used by government agencies, industry experts, economists, and more people every year.

Dr. Steven:

We are pleased to announce the release of the 2017 mineral commodities summaries by the national minerals information center.

Speaker 1:

Home to the world's leading specialists, the center remains America's resource for understanding the factors that influence minerals, production, and trade.

Dr. Steven:

Our function is to collect, analyze, and publish mineral commodity information for non-fuel minerals that are important for the US economy and national security.


Our driving force as a team of statistical analysts and assistants who collect and analyze data from thousands of producers and trade groups.


It starts with the statistical assistance. Forms are mailed out to all the companies that we survey for voluntary response. The reports come in, the essays review the forms, check them for consistency, any kind of errors, that the data looks good. They then compile that information into a database, which puts them in a table form for us for movement over to the commodity specialists.

Speaker 1:

Since the Industrial Revolution, iron based materials have become the basis for our modern world. From the cars we drive to our tallest buildings, iron, and steel are the backbone of an industrialized nation.


Americans felt the squeeze of a globalized industry as iron ore mines and steel facilities were idle were shut down in the last two years. Globally, the organization for economic cooperation and development reported a massive global steel over capacity, estimated nearly 544 million tons in 2015 and continuing into 2016.


The iron and steel industry has been going through a period of strong and very publicized contraction in recent years. Foreign government subsidies and other market distorting policies have resulted in over production. This along with depressed global steel demand and import barriers in other markets caused a large increase in US imports of steel.

Speaker 1:

Metals are all around us, whether flipping the light switch or flying across the country, these metals are key to our modern world. From the copper wires building our electrical grid to exotic metals like the indium in your TV.


Because of its importance to battery suppliers and car manufacturers, lithium supply security has become a top priority for technology companies in the United States and Asia. Strategic partnerships between technology companies and exploration companies continue to be established to ensure liable diversified supply.


The 2016 estimate average free market of indium decreased by more than 40% from that in 2015. Low prices were attributed to an over supply and depressed demand after the recent collapse of the Fanyu metal exchange.

Speaker 1:

Industrial minerals are the bedrock of American infrastructure. From the roads we drive on to the electronics in our pockets, these minerals are all around us.


For most of the United States, the past winter was warmer than average with little severe winter weather, which also means less salt for highway de-icing. Rock salt production and imports in 2016 decreased significantly because of decreased demand from many local and state transportation departments.


Although cement sales and construction were somewhat higher than in 2015, low oil and gas prices lead to reduced use in oil and gas wells. Looking forward, current developments in the international energy sector could revamp domestic oil and gas production, which would not only improve the outlook for cement but other commodities.

Speaker 1:

Domestic focus on so many minerals is a difficult task, but our specialists also strive to focus on the larger world where a major portion of the world's resources are produced and imported from.


The Philippines, the worlds leading producer of nickel ore suspended half of it's mining operations in September for failing to meet environmental standards. This caused a 2% increase in nickel prices globally, which helped a recovery in the market.

Speaker 1:

Another team of researchers in the center analyzes the network of connections between mining, processing, and recycling to enhance our understanding of the materials' life cycle.


After specialists collect and analyze data for commodities and countries, we then use it to answer real world questions. One of our current projects is a collaboration with multiple government agencies to evaluate mineral criticality.

Dr. Steven:

The National Minerals Information Center is the world leader in providing insight and statistics into the global minerals industries. We are proud to announce the release of the 2017 mineral commodities today. Please find more information about who we are, what we do and the information we publish at minerals.usgs.gov/minerals. Thank you.