U.S. Mine Production Increasing, Estimated Value of $86.3 Billion in Minerals

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2020 Report Highlights the Importance of Mining Minerals for U.S. Economy and National Security

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MINERAL COMMODITIES  February 2020

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The U.S. Geological Survey announced today that U.S. mines produced approximately $86.3 billion in minerals in 2019 –- more than $2 billion higher than revised 2018 production totals.

“The data we are releasing today is vital to understanding which minerals are vulnerable to disruptions in America’s supply chains and provides the analytical foundation for President Trump’s broader strategy to make our economy and defense more secure,” said Jim Reilly, USGS Director. “American production of minerals – having an estimated value of more than $86 billion – is critical for all means of commerce and manufacturing with many of these minerals being used in every day household items.”

The 43rd annual Mineral Commodity Summaries report from the USGS National Minerals Information Center is the earliest comprehensive source of 2019 world mineral production data. It includes information on the domestic industry structure, government programs and tariffs, as well as five-year salient statistics on more than 90 mineral commodities that are important to the U.S. economy and national security. It also identifies events, trends and issues in the domestic and international minerals industries. This report covers the full range of nonfuel minerals monitored by the center.

“Decision makers and leaders in both the private and public sectors rely on the crucial, unbiased statistics and data provided in the Mineral Commodity Summaries to make business decisions and determine national policy,” said Acting National Minerals Information Center Director Michael J. Magyar. “Industries – such as steel, aerospace and electronics—processed nonfuel mineral materials created an estimated $3.13 trillion in value-added products in 2019, which represents a 2.5% increase over 2018.”

In 2019, the estimated total value of nonfuel mineral production in the United States was $86.3 billion, an increase of 3% from the upwardly revised total of $84.0 billion in 2018.

According to this year’s report, the U.S. continues to rely on foreign sources for some raw and processed mineral materials. In 2019, imports made up more than one-half of U.S apparent consumption for 46 nonfuel mineral commodities, and the U.S. was 100% net import reliant for 17 of those.

The domestic production of critical rare-earth mineral concentrates increased by 8,000 metric tons (over 44%) in 2019 to 26,000 metric tons, making the U.S. the largest producer of rare-earth mineral concentrates outside of China.

For 2019, critical minerals as defined by President Trump’s Executive Order 13817, comprised 14 of the 17 mineral commodities with 100% net import reliance and 17 additional critical mineral commodities had a net import reliance greater than 50% of apparent consumption. The largest number of nonfuel mineral commodities were supplied to the U.S. from China, followed by Canada.

The Trump administration released, “A Federal Strategy to Ensure a Reliable Supply of Critical Minerals,” last year to make America’s economy and defense more secure. The strategy directed the U.S. Department of the Interior to locate domestic supplies of critical minerals, ensure access to information necessary for the study and production of minerals and expedite permitting for minerals projects. Pursuant to the federal strategy, USGS launched its Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI) to acquire geologic, geophysical and topographic data to help characterize the distribution of critical minerals and identify areas in which more data would improve our understanding of undiscovered critical mineral resources.

In addition, the USGS will conduct at least one multi-commodity critical mineral resource assessment every two years, supplying the results to Federal land managers and the public. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will work with partners such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to develop a method for assessing critical mineral potential in the Federal Offshore and Exclusive Economic Zone.

The $86.3 billion worth of nonfuel minerals produced by U.S. mines in 2019 comprised industrial minerals, which includes natural aggregates as well as ferrous and nonferrous metals.

The estimated value of U.S. industrial minerals production in 2019 was $58.2 billion, about 3% more than that of 2018. Of this total, the value of industrial minerals production was dominated by crushed stone and construction sand and gravel (construction aggregates) at $27.7 billion. Crushed stone was the leading nonfuel mineral commodity in 2019 accounting for 22% of the total value of U.S. nonfuel mineral production. 

U.S. metal mine production in 2019 was estimated to be $28.1 billion, or almost $500 million higher than in 2018. The principal contributors to the total value of metal mine production in 2018 were gold (32%), copper (28%), iron ore (19%) and zinc (7%).

U.S. production of 13 mineral commodities were valued at more than $1 billion each in 2019. These were, in decreasing order of value: crushed stone, cement, construction sand and gravel, gold, copper, industrial sand and gravel, iron ore, lime, salt, zinc, soda ash, phosphate rock and molybdenum concentrates.

In 2019, 13 states each produced more than $2 billion worth of nonfuel mineral commodities. The states were, ranked in descending order of production value: Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Minnesota, California, Florida, Utah, Alaska, Missouri, Michigan, Wyoming, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

Some other findings in the report include:

  • Critical Minerals—Byproduct vanadium was produced in Utah for the first time since 2013.
  • Recycled Materials—Of the $36.1 billion of domestically recycled products, iron and steel scrap contributed $17.6 billion. 

The USGS Mineral Resources Program delivers unbiased science and information to understand mineral resource potential, production, consumption and how minerals interact with the environment. The USGS National Minerals Information Center collects, analyzes and disseminates current information on the supply of and the demand for minerals and materials in the United States and about 180 other countries. This information is essential in planning for and mitigating impacts of potential disruptions to mineral commodity supply due to both natural hazard and man-made events.

The USGS report Mineral Commodity Summaries 2020 is available here: https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/mcs2020. Hardcopies will be available later in the year from the Government Printing Office, Superintendent of Documents. For ordering information, please call (202) 512-1800 or (866) 512-1800 or go online

For more information on this report and individual mineral commodities, please visit the USGS National Minerals Information Center. To keep up-to-date on USGS mineral research, follow us on Twitter or visit the Mineral Resources Program webpage.