Global Mineral Science Data Portal Unveiled by International Partnership

Release Date:

Geoscience Australia, the Geological Survey of Canada, and the U.S. Geological Survey have released a new online portal and the world’s largest database of critical mineral concentrations in and around mineral deposits.

Resource managers and decision makers now have access to more than 10,000 mineral samples from Australia, Canada and the United States, all categorized along a deposit classification scheme and available through a newly unveiled web portal.

The mineral samples also include modern, multi-element geochemical data and have been collected from historic and active mines and prospects from around the world. These data and samples can be used to fill in knowledge gaps about how many critical mineral commodities occur in various ores and in what quantities.

Image shows a map and key of the United States with mineral locations marked with colored shapes

Known Mineral Locations in the United States. (Public domain.)

“This web portal is a perfect example of the value that national geological surveys bring to international science collaborations,” said Dr. Sarah Ryker, USGS associate director for energy and mineral resources. “We excel at collecting data and performing research, and through that we have deep reservoirs of expertise that can lead to new ways of organizing and thinking about geoscience data, like the new mineral systems approach employed here.”

“Together we are witnessing a spectacular event: the birth of the Critical Minerals Mapping Initiative,” stated Dr. Geneviève Marquis, Director of the Central Canada Division at the Geological Survey of Canada at Natural Resources Canada. “This is designed, developed and launched by Canada, the United States and Australia to support the global supply chain for the minerals we need to secure our future needs. Thank you to the researchers who embarked on this formidable journey and to all those who will consult, use and enhance this exceptional database.”

Image shows a map of Canada with mineral locations marked with colored shapes

Known Mineral Locations in Canada. (Public domain.)

Geoscience Australia’s Minerals Energy and Groundwater Division Chief Dr Andrew Heap said the portal would highlight Australia’s rich mineral resources and underline emerging opportunities for the Australian resources sector. “Critical minerals are central to the economic and national security of Australia and its partners, but their distribution in ore deposits is poorly understood,” Dr. Heap said. “The dataset in the online portal will help Australia and our partner nations secure our supply chains as global demand for critical minerals accelerates. This online portal demonstrates what can be achieved when national geological surveys combine their data and expertise.”

The web portal is one of the first achievements of the Critical Minerals Mapping Initiative, a partnership among Geoscience Australia, the Geological Survey of Canada, and the USGS. The goal of the Critical Minerals Mapping Initiative is to build a diversified supply of critical minerals in all three countries and establish a foundational understanding of each country’s geologic framework.

Image shows a map of Australia with mineral locations marked with colored shapes

Known Mineral Locations in Australia. (Public domain.)

The mineral samples and data are organized in a deposit classification scheme, one part of a broader approach called the mineral systems approach. This approach looks at mineral deposits through an integrated framework that considers geologic processes that control the formation and preservation of the mineral deposits. One of the major advantages of this approach is it allows geologists to predict with greater accuracy where critical mineral deposits might occur.

The web portal represents a significant milestone in the agencies' trilateral collaboration and will be used by governments and industry alike looking to diversify their global source of critical minerals.  This new mineral classification system ensures Australia, the US and Canada have a common framework as we build a shared understanding of our critical mineral potential.

Scientists from Geoscience Australia, the Geological Survey of Canada, and the USGS will continue to meet and collaborate to build upon this database and web portal, refining the mineral systems approach, and add more data and samples to the shared resources.

More information on Geoscience Australia mineral research can be found here. Stay up-to-date on all science from Geoscience Australia by following us on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

More information on mineral science from the Geological Survey of Canada can be found here. Stay up-to-date on all science from the Geological Survey of Canada by following us on Twitter.

More information on mineral research from the USGS can be found here. Stay up-to-date on USGS mineral science by following us on Twitter.