Science Center Objects

The motivations for starting Earth MRI and the potential returns on investment follow:

  • The United States is 100-percent dependent on imports for 21 critical mineral commodities and is
    at least 50-percent dependent on imports for another 28 critical mineral commodities (Lederer and
    McCullough, 2018).
  • Undiscovered deposits of at least some of these critical and strategic minerals almost certainly
    exist in the United States, but mineral exploration by the private sector is hampered by the lack of
    modern geological, geophysical, and topographic data. In contrast, governments of other
    countries provide such datasets to the public and private sectors.
  • Studies in Australia and Canada have reported that investments by their federal governments in
    these basic geologic and geophysical datasets can be expected to lead to investments five times as
    large by the private sector (Duke, 2010; ACIL Allen Consulting, 2015).
  • Studies sponsored by Earth MRI aim to identify areas with potential for undiscovered critical
    mineral deposits that could reduce U.S. mineral import dependence, thereby strengthening
    national security, creating jobs within the private sector, and generating ancillary economic and
    social benefits.
  • Information acquired through this initiative could also advance our understanding of other
    economically valuable mineral resources (such as copper, zinc, gold, and industrial minerals),
    energy and groundwater resources, and geologic hazards. The newly acquired data also address
    other pressing societal issues in need of detailed geoscience information, such as identifying earth
    resources needed for revitalizing the Nation’s roads, bridges, and other infrastructure systems.