Mineral Resources

Global demand is rising for mineral resources of all kinds, including metals, industrial minerals, and solid fuels like coal. Mineral resources are unequally distributed around the globe, reflecting the vast differences in geology of different parts of the Earth. Geoscientists play an essential role in locating mineral resources and designing processes for their safe extraction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Latest News

Mountain Pass Rare Earth Mine, California. This mine dominated global rare earth element production from the 1960s to the 1980s. Although it still contains significant reserves, it closed in 2015 due to competition from China. Credit: Dan Cordier, USGS
(2016-11-17)
On Monday November 14, the National Academies' Committee on Earth Resources held a meeting on Mineral and Energy Resource Issues for the Coming Decade. The meeting covered a wide range of issues and focused on the scientific and technical advances and challenges that will affect mineral and energy...
#MapOfTheDay! Check out this interactive map of mineral resources in Maine from @MaineDACF  #mainething
(2016-11-01)
#MapOfTheDay! Today the Critical Issues Program (@AGI_GeoIssues) shared an interactive map of mineral resources in Maine from the Maine Geological Survey, part of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry (@MaineDACF), which you can find at http://bit.ly/1JLygUP. For more...
Screenshot of Mines of Ohio interactive map from the Ohio DNR. Image Credit: Ohio Department of Natural Resources
(2016-10-07)
#MapOfTheDay! Today the Critical Issues Program (@AGI_GeoIssues) shared Mines of Ohio, an interactive map of geothermal resources in the U.S. from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (@ohiodnr), which you can find at http://bit.ly/2dS8Qk5. For more information on past and present mining and...
Logo of the Society of Mining and Metallurgy Exploration, Inc. (SME)
(2016-09-01)
The Society for Mining and Metallurgy Exploration, Inc. (SME) has posted a new Technical Briefing Paper on the website regarding Federal Support for U.S. Mining Schools. In it they provide background on the issue, outline reasons investment in these programs is valuable to the American public and...
(2016-06-29)
After four years of advocacy, SME announced that the SEC has released a proposed rule change in Industry Guide 7 (IG7) for public comment. This proposed change will streamline U.S. guidelines with international guidelines. The public comment period on this proposed change is now open and will...
Excavator mining
(2016-03-10)
February 11, 2016 The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has published a report detailing how the Department of Defense (DOD) can better manage supply chain risks for critical rare earth minerals and materials (rare earths). Rare earths are essential for many weapon systems components and...
Salt marsh near Pescadero, California
(2015-07-01)
June 25, 2015 The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Minerals heard testimony mostly in favor of H.R. 1937, the National Critical Minerals Act (NCMA), on June 25. During the hearing, the bill’s sponsor, Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV), cited the need to speed up the permitting...
Salt marsh near Pescadero, California
(2014-10-06)
September 30, 2014 A report released on September 29 by the Interior Office of Inspector General (OIG) relates the shortcomings of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) policy to detect and deter illegal mineral or oil and gas drilling on federal lands. The inspection was conducted due to the...
U.S. Capitol with flag
(2014-07-07)
House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources June 12, 2014 Witness Panel (with links to opening statements)Mr. Cary Ralston Vice President/General Manager, ATK Missile Products DivisionMr. James King Vice President, Unconventional Completions, Baker Hughes IncorporatedMr...

Case Studies & Factsheets

CI_Factsheet_2017_1_recycling_170331_thumb.JPG

Why Recycle? Recycling saves energy, money, materials, and natural resources, while reducing landfill use. It supplements the national supply of essential materials, reducing dependence on imports. As more minerals and materials become critically important - particularly in advanced technologies...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Campbell County case study highlighted
U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) 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 coal mining in Campbell County, Wyoming can be found here. The...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Boone, Logan and Mingo counties case study highlighted
U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) 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 coal mining in West Virginia's Boone, Logan, and Mingo counties...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Pima County case study highlighted
U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) 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 County, Arizona can be found here. The...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Greenlee County case study highlighted
U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) 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 Greenlee County, Arizona can be found here. The...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Elko and Eureka counties case study highlighted
U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) 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's Elko and Eureka counties can be found...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Humboldt and Lander counties case study highlighted
U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) 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's Humboldt and Lander counties can be found...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the St. Louis County case study highlighted
U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) 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. Louis County, Minnesota can be found here. The...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Marquette County case study highlighted
U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) 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 Marquette County, Michigan can be found here. The...

Mining Operation to Produce Road Aggregate, Flowell, Utah. Image Credit:Lee Siebert, Smithsonian Institution.

Between 1990 and 2000, the population of Tooele, Utah, increased 51.3 percent to 40,735. As demand for construction and aggregate increased, the expanding neighborhoods began encroaching on aggregate operations. The new residents considered the appearance, noise, dust, and traffic associated...

Fig. 1. Simplified geologic map of the Rifle and Silt quadrangles in Garfield County, CO. Yellow indicates unconsolidated sand and gravel deposits. Yellow with black dots indicates deposits of wind-blown silt (loess). Credit: USGS

Defining the Problem As population and urban development have escalated along the Colorado River valley in Garfield County, Colorado, the demand for sand and gravel resources has increased dramatically. Sand and gravel are the basic materials used in most construction projects from roads and...

Fig. 1. Exposure of sandstone capping an economic coal bed. Credit: J. Shaulis, Pennsylvania Geological Survey

Defining the Problem Despite Pennsylvania’s long history as a major coal producer, information on the coal geology (Fig. 1), remaining resources, and extent of past mining is not available for many areas of the state. Such information is critical for present and future coal exploration and...

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...

Sunset skyline of Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, with the Inco Superstack seen across Ramsey Lake. Licensed under Creative Commons, CC-BY-SA-3.0, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons User P199

The Sudbury region of Ontario is rich in metallic ores. Underground mining operations at the 15 active mines of Inco Ltd. and Falconbridge Ltd. in Sudbury currently produce 51,000 tons of ore per day, and five other mines within 500 km of Sudbury produce another 50,000 tons per day. By-products...

Research Database Publications

Cover of IC 47 ; Source: Maryland Geological Survey
1989, Maryland Geological Survey (MGS)
The value of nonfuel mineral production in Maryland in 1987 was $345 million. Output of all of the State's mineral commodities continued to increase, boosting value to its highest mark in State history.
Cover of P-15 ; Source: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology
2004, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology (NBMG)
This fifteenth issue of an annual series of reports on the major mines and mills in Nevada lists the names and addresses of operators, numbers of employees, and annual production in 2003. Map locations of all major mines are shown and an overview of mineral production and its effect on Nevada's...
Cover of P-22 ; Source: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology
2011, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology (NBMG)
This twenty-second issue of an annual series of reports on the major mines and mills in Nevada lists the names and addresses of operators, numbers of employees, and annual production in 2010. Map locations of all major mines are shown and an overview of mineral production and its effect on Nevada's...
Cover of USGS MCS 2007; Source: USGS
2007, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Minerals are fundamental to the U.S. economy, contributing to the real gross domestic product (GDP) at several levels—mining, processing, and manufacturing finished products. The estimated growth rate for the real GDP of the United States for 2006 was 3.2%; the nominal GDP was about $13.2 trillion...
Cover of USGS MCS 2008; Source: USGS
2008, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Minerals are fundamental to the U.S. economy, contributing to the real gross domestic product (GDP) at several levels—mining, processing, and manufacturing finished products. The estimated growth rate for the real GDP of the United States was 2.1% and the nominal GDP was about $13.8 trillion in...
Cover image of position statement; Image credit: SME
2016, Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration Inc. (SME)
The minerals industry appreciates that whereas it mines and processes minerals to maintain and advance our standard of living, it must do so in a manner that protects the Earth and its environs so that the generations to come are not adversely impacted and can enjoy its bounties.
Metal Mining and the Environment, AGI
1999, American Geosciences Institute (AGI)
The booklet, Metal Mining and the Environment, and the colorful companion poster offer new tools for raising awareness and understanding of the impact and issues surrounding metal mining and the environment. The 64-page full-color booklet contains a copy of the poster which includes a student...
Cover of USGS MCS 2006; Source: USGS
2006, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Minerals are fundamental to the U.S. economy, contributing to the real gross domestic product (GDP) at several levels—basic (mining), intermediate (processing), and manufacturing. The estimated growth rate for the real GDP of the United States for 2005 was 3.6%. The nominal GDP was about $12.5...
Cover of MI2013; Source: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology
2015, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology (NBMG)
Starting in 1979, NBMG has issued annual reports that describe mineral and geothermal activities and accomplishments in Nevada, and include statistics of known gold and silver deposits. This report describes mineral, oil and gas, and geothermal activities and accomplishments in Nevada in 2013:...
Cover of PP1654; Source: USGS
2005, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Federal lands included in the Gallatin and Custer National Forests contain more than 4 million acres, in 13 discontinuous blocks across southern Montana and into western South Dakota. In order to meet the Forest Service’s most urgent needs for information about the potential for undiscovered...