Metals

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Metals are found in many different places around the world. Many natural Earth processes affect their distribution and abundance. Metals are essential to our economy and lifestyle, and the global demand for metals continues to rise.

Basics

A copper sample. (Oxidation coating has been removed). Image Credit: USGS

Metals occur in many different geologic settings around the world. If enough metal is concentrated in one place to be of economic value, it is called an ore deposit. Well-known metals include copper, iron, gold, aluminum, manganese, and platinum, but nearly all of the sixty or so metals in the periodic table have practical uses. Geoscientists know that different types of ore deposits occur in areas where particular types of geologic processes have taken place.   Read more

Frequently Asked Questions

American Geosciences Institute
U.S. Geological Survey
American Geosciences Institute
American Geosciences Institute

Latest News

Bingham Copper Mine
(2016-11-30)
November 21, 2016 Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, announced a plan to block mining development outside of Yellowstone National Park. Under this plan, 30,000 acres of public land north of Yellowstone is subject to a two-year restriction on mining claims while a permanent ban is considered....

Case Studies & Factsheets

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Pima County case study highlighted
U.S. Department of the Interior

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenue, Information and Data Management has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on copper mining in Pima...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Greenlee County case study highlighted
U.S. Department of the Interior

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenue, Information and Data Management has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on copper mining in...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Elko and Eureka counties case study highlighted
U.S. Department of the Interior

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenue, Information and Data Management has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on gold mining in Nevada'...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Humboldt and Lander counties case study highlighted
U.S. Department of the Interior

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenue, Information and Data Management has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on gold mining in Nevada'...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the St. Louis County case study highlighted
U.S. Department of the Interior

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenue, Information and Data Management has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on iron mining in St....

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Marquette County case study highlighted
U.S. Department of the Interior

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenue, Information and Data Management has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on iron mining in...

Fig. 1. Gold, 3.3 cm high, Round Mountain Mine, Nye County, Nevada. L. McMaster collection. Credit: J. Scovil

Defining the Problem The western states contain many gold deposits (Fig. 1), and a zone of faulted sedimentary and igneous rocks in northeastern Nevada, known as the “Carlin” trend, is the most productive region in the country. Since the 1961 discovery of the Carlin deposit and the subsequent...

GOLI Online Courses

GOLI Course: Best Practices in Mineral Resource Estimation & Reporting. Image courtesy of Abani Samal
Course Type: GOLI Online Course

Construction of a computerized model to estimate mineral resources is a common practice in mineral exploration projects and mining operations. Many times a technical report is done as per international reporting standards such as NI-43-101 or JORC to meet the requirement of certain stock...

GOLI Course: Tracking the Supply of Critical Materials; Image courtesy of Nedal Nassar.
Course Type: GOLI Online Course

No country in the world produces all of the mineral resources necessary for modern society. International trade plays a critical role in providing these raw materials, forming a global network of production, export, import, and use. This network must continuously adapt to national and...

Research Database Publications

Cover of OFR 2015-1021; Source: U.S. Geological Survey
2015, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
This study, covering the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Central Yukon Planning Area (CYPA), Alaska, was prepared to aid BLM mineral resource management planning. Estimated mineral resource potential and certainty are mapped for six selected mineral deposit groups: (1) rare earth element (REE)...
Cover image of position statement; Image credit: SME
2015, Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration Inc. (SME)
The Nation runs on energy. It is essential for the economic growth and national security of the United States that the Nation have an adequate, sustainable, environmentally acceptable and economically viable balanced supply of energy sources, (e.g. coal, petroleum, nuclear, natural gas, solar, wind...
Cover of CR-14-C; Source: Arizonal Geological Survey
2014, Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS)
The Monument Valley uranium district is located in northeastern Arizona and in southeastern Utah (Figure 1). It is within the Navajo Indian Reservation where exploration and mining was under the control of the Navajo Tribal Council and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior....
Fig. 1. Gold, 3.3 cm high, Round Mountain Mine, Nye County, Nevada. L. McMaster collection. Credit: J. Scovil
2004, American Geosciences Institute (AGI)
Geologic maps have provided the key to finding new gold deposits in Nevada.
Cover of USGS MCS 2010; Source: USGS
2010, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
The widespread effects of the struggling domestic economy were evident in the decreased performance of the U.S. minerals sector in 2009. Although minerals remained fundamental to the U.S. economy, contributing to the real gross domestic product (GDP) at several levels, including mining, processing...
Cover for GeoNote 34 ; Source: Idaho Geological Survey
1994, Idaho Geological Survey (IGS)
List of companies with active mining operations in metals and phosphate in Idaho between 1994 and 1995.
Cover for GeoNote 11 ; Source: Idaho Geological Survey
1987, Idaho Geological Survey (IGS)
Fact sheet presenting data on countries with over 10 million ounces of silver production annually, silver production by domestic and foreign mines, major silver-producing states, year end stocks, and U.S. refinery production.
Cover of USGS MCS 2005; Source: USGS
2005, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
The mineral sector is a fundamental part of the U.S. economy; it contributes to the real gross domestic product (GDP) at several levels—basic (mining), intermediate (processing), and manufacturing. The estimated average growth rate for the real GDP of the United States for 2004 was 3.9%. The...
Cover for GeoNote 42 ; Source: Idaho Geological Survey
2002, Idaho Geological Survey (IGS)
This GeoNote provides yearly mineral production data by mine in the Coeur d'Alene district between 1991 and 2000 for silver, lead, zinc, gold, copper, and antimony.
Cover of CR14D; Source: Arizona Geological Survey
2014, Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS)
This article presents the history of the Helvetia-Rosemont mining district from 1875 until December 2013. The pre-World War II history of the area deals with the settlers, the early mining camps where they lived, and the mining ventures that developed and worked many of its early mines. The post-...