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Deposit classification scheme for the Critical Minerals Mapping Initiative Global Geochemical Database

June 4, 2021

A challenge for the global economy is to meet the growing demand for commodities used in today’s advanced technologies. Critical minerals are commodities (for example, elements, compounds, minerals) deemed vital to the economic and national security of individual countries that are vulnerable to supply disruption. The national geological agencies of Australia, Canada, and the United States recently joined forces to advance understanding and foster development of critical mineral resources in their respective countries through the Critical Minerals Mapping Initiative (CMMI). An initial goal of the CMMI is to fill the knowledge gap on the abundance of critical minerals in ores. To do this, the CMMI compiled modern multielement geochemical data generated by each agency on ore samples collected from historical and active mines and prospects from around the world. To identify relationships between critical minerals, deposit types, deposit environments, and mineral systems, a unified deposit classification scheme was needed. This report describes the scheme developed by the CMMI to classify the initial release of geochemical data. In 2021, the resulting database—along with basic query, statistical analysis, and display tools—will be served to the public through a web-based portal managed by Geoscience Australia. The database will enable users to trace critical minerals through mineral systems and identify individual deposits or deposit types that are potential sources of critical minerals.