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September 14, 2020

The USGS has updated its USMIN Mineral Deposit Database for the mineral commodity tungsten, one of 35 minerals declared critical by the Department of the Interior in 2018.

Image shows a map of the United States with significant tungsten deposits labeled
A map of the United States showing significant tungsten (W) deposits using data from USMIN.

Tungsten is necessary to make tungsten carbide and hardened steel used in the metalworking, mining and construction industries, as well as in electronics and defense applications. 

This data release describes approximately 100 U.S. sites that include mineral regions and deposits with past production or resources of more than 215 metric tons of tungsten (approximately the top 10% of U.S. tungsten deposits). The information will assist the geoscience and mineral exploration communities as well as Federal and state agencies, and private industry in their efforts to move the United States further towards critical mineral independence.

“The USGS National Minerals Information Center reported that there was no commercial production of tungsten in the United States between 2015 and 2019. However, the United States may have future production potential from U.S. projects that are currently in the advanced exploration stage,” said USGS scientist Jeff Mauk, geologist with the USGS Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center and co-lead for the USMIN project of the USGS Mineral Resources Program. “Updates to our database can help future exploration efforts.”

Close up of Tungsten Ore - Wolframite
A sample of wolframite, one of the primary ores for tungsten.Tungsten is one of the densest metals on the planet, and therefore gets used in metalworking and construction, as well as in heat sinks, weights, and even vibrating batteries.

Significant tungsten deposits occur in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

USMIN is a national-scale, geospatial database that is the authoritative source for the most important mines, mineral deposits and mineral districts of the United States.

More information can be found here. To learn more about USGS mineral resource research, please visit the USGS Mineral Resources Program webpage or follow us on Twitter.

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