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First Steps in Implementing Earth MRI

The Earth MRI effort is focusing on those regions in the United States with potential for hosting critical mineral resources. Initial funding is directed at acquiring new data over areas with critical mineral deposit types, which if developed, could improve the Nation’s . The proposed first steps are listed below:

  • Forge cost-shared cooperative agreements between the USGS and State geo- logical surveys and provide funding to State surveys for new geologic mapping and for data preservation through the USGS National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program and National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program, respectively.
  • Establish contracts with private industry to conduct geophysical and lidar surveys.
  • Offer partnership opportunities for collecting lidar data under the USGS 3D Elevation Program broad agency announcement.
  • In fiscal year (FY) 2019, focus new data collection on areas potentially containing rare earth element mineral deposits. In FY20 and beyond, target new priority critical mineral resources and identify new focus areas for integrated studies.
  • Initial a national-scale data inventory of geologic framework and mineral resource data to define focus areas to guide future data collection efforts.
  • The next phase of the effort will target resources toward mineral deposit types that contain critical minerals for which the United States has a high net import reliance, those in which usage is increasing beyond foreseeable domestic production, and where new geoscience data is highly likely to improve our knowledge of undiscovered mineral resources. 
  • Design and implement a digital geospa- tial platform to deliver the new data to the public. This platform will allow the user to access the USGS’s authoritative topographic, geologic, geophysical, geo- chemical, and mineral deposit informa- tion within a single portal.
  • Collaborate with industry, State, and Tribal entities to identify their future science needs.