For our Winter 2022 newsletter, here are a few highlights from the USGS Mineral Resources Program’s recent activities and publications.
Minerals Corner-Winter 2022
Winter 2022 Edition of the USGS Energy Quarterly Newsletter
In February 2022, the USGS released a new list of 50 mineral commodities critical to the U.S. economy and national security after an extensive multi-agency assessment and public comment period. The 2022 list of critical minerals was determined using the most up-to-date scientific methods to evaluate mineral criticality. The new list contains 15 more commodities compared to the nation’s first list of critical minerals created in 2018. Much of the increase in the new list is the result of splitting the rare earth elements and platinum group elements into individual entries rather than including them as “mineral groups.” In addition, the 2022 list of critical minerals adds nickel and zinc to the list while removing helium, potash, rhenium and strontium.
Also in February 2022, the USGS National Minerals Information Center put out its 2022 edition of the Mineral Commodity Summaries, a long-running publication that provides a comprehensive source of mineral production data for the world and includes information on the domestic industry structure, government programs, tariffs and five-year salient statistics on more than 88 mineral commodities that are important to the U.S. economy and national security.
The 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law makes historic investments in the USGS’ efforts to provide vital science to address critical minerals, energy and supply chain issues. The USGS has received about $511 million in direct funding to invest in boosting the nation’s understanding of its energy and critical mineral resources, training and retaining the next generation of natural resource scientists and preserving the nation’s irreplaceable geologic knowledge. The first investment is $167 million in funding to replace deteriorating laboratories used by scientists at the USGS working on critical energy and mineral programs. The new state-of-the-art research and teaching facility, to be built on the Colorado School of Mines campus, will allow USGS energy and minerals researchers to work alongside the university’s geoscience and energy professors.
In October 2021, the USGS and Rio Tinto, a leading mining and metals company, announced a partnership that will provide a clearer picture of the potential for critical mineral resources beneath the Continental Divide near Montana’s Boulder Batholith. The USGS will fly airborne geophysical surveys in areas of interest with support from Rio Tinto during 2022 as part of its Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI). This is the first time the USGS has partnered with a resources company for the Earth MRI program, allowing it to double the area being surveyed in Southwest Montana.
In June 2021, Geoscience Australia, the Geological Survey of Canada, and the U.S. Geological Survey released a new online portal and the world’s largest database of critical mineral concentrations in and around mineral deposits. 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.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has updated the U.S. Mineral Deposit Database (USMIN) to include 10 sites with historical graphite production or undeveloped graphite resources. These sites are in Alaska, Alabama, Colorado, Montana, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.
- Data-driven prospectivity modelling of sediment-hosted Zn-Pb mineral systems and their critical raw materials
- Towards a holistic sulfate-water-O2 triple oxygen isotope systematics
- Pb-Pb and U-Pb dating of cassiterite by in situ LA-ICPMS: Examples spanning ~1.85 Ga to ~100 Ma in Russia and implications for dating Proterozoic to Phanerozoic tin deposits
More USGS Mineral Resources Program Publications can be found here.
Recent Data Releases
- Global rare earth element occurrence database
- Elemental Concentrations and Carbon and Oxygen Isotope Ratios in Mammillary Calcite from Devils Hole and Devils Hole II, Nevada, USA
- Spectroscopy of Expanded Vermiculite Products and Insulation
More USGS Mineral Resources Program Data Releases can be found here.
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