Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Beryllium—A critical mineral commodity—Resources, production, and supply chain

November 14, 2016

Beryllium is a lightweight metallic element used in a wide variety of specialty and industrial applications. As a function of its unique chemical and physical properties, such as a high stiffness-to-weight ratio, resistance to temperature extremes, and high thermal conductivity, beryllium cannot be easily replaced by substitute materials in applications where combinations of these properties make it the material of choice. Because the number of beryllium producers is limited and the use of substitute materials in specific defense-related applications that are vital to national security is inadequate, several studies have categorized beryllium as a critical and strategic material. This categorization has led to the United States Government recommending that beryllium be stockpiled for use in the event of a national emergency. As of December 31, 2015, the National Defense Stockpile inventory of hot-pressed beryllium metal powder, structured beryllium metal powder, and vacuum-cast beryllium metal totaled 78 metric tons (t).

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Mineral Resources Program supports research on the occurrence, quality, quantity, and availability of mineral resources vital to the economy and national security. The USGS, through its National Minerals Information Center (NMIC), collects, analyzes, and disseminates information on more than 90 nonfuel mineral commodities from more than 180 countries. This fact sheet provides information on the production, consumption, supply chain, geology, and resource availability of beryllium in a global context.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2016
Title Beryllium—A critical mineral commodity—Resources, production, and supply chain
DOI 10.3133/fs20163081
Authors Graham W. Lederer, Nora K. Foley, Brian W. Jaskula, Robert A. Ayuso
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Fact Sheet
Series Number 2016-3081
Index ID fs20163081
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Eastern Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center; National Minerals Information Center