RFG 2018 Conference

critical minerals

House Natural Resources Committee advances bill to streamline domestic critical mineral production

Bingham Copper Mine

On March 7, the full House Committee on Natural Resources marked up the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act (H.R.520), following a hearing to consider the bill last month. The Act, introduced by Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV-2) on January 13, aims to support domestic production of minerals that are of strategic and critical importance to the economic and national security, energy infrastructure, and manufacturing competitiveness of the Unites States. H.R.520 was reported favorably as amended by the committee, and now awaits further action on the House floor.

Tracking the Global Supply of Critical Materials

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 international developments in science, technology, politics, and economics. As a result, information on the global flow of raw materials plays a fundamental role in improving national and international resilience to potential supply disruptions and market changes.

Best Practices in Mineral Resource Estimation and Reporting

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 exchanges in the world. In all these standards, there are certain minimum suggested requirements that have to be met for reporting mineral resources and reserves. The standards are not and cannot be prescriptive.

Mineral Commodity Summaries, 2018

Each chapter of the 2018 edition of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Mineral Commodity Summaries (MCS) includes information on events, trends, and issues for each mineral commodity as well as discussions and tabular presentations on domestic industry structure, Government programs, tariffs, 5-year salient statistics, and world production and resources. The MCS is the earliest comprehensive source of 2017 mineral production data for the world. More than 90 individual minerals and materials are covered by two-page synopses.

In 2017, the estimated value of total nonfuel mineral production in the United States was $75.2 billion, a 6% increase from the revised total of $70.8 billion in 2016. The estimated value of metals production increased 12% to $26.3 billion. Higher prices contributed to some metal commodity values increasing more than 35% (cobalt, magnesium metal, and palladium). Despite this increase, some U.S. metal mines and processing facilities remained idle in 2017, including three primary aluminum smelters in Indiana, Missouri, and Washington; a titanium sponge facility in Utah; and a byproduct vanadium production facility in Utah. However, new gold mines opened in late 2016 and 2017 in Nevada and South Carolina, respectively, and iron ore mines in Michigan and Minnesota restarted or operated for the full year. The total value of industrial minerals production was $48.9 billion, a 3% increase from that of 2016. Of this total, $23 billion was aggregates production (construction sand and gravel and crushed stone). Increased oil and natural gas drilling activity resulted in increased production of some industrial mineral commodities. Limited growth in construction activity resulted in the production of some industrial minerals, especially those used in infrastructure and residential construction, to remain essentially unchanged in 2017.

President Trump and Secretary Zinke sign orders to advance domestic production of critical minerals

Bingham Copper Mine

Following the release of a USGS report on 23 mineral commodities that are critical for the U.S. economy and security, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to reduce America's dependence on foreign sources of critical minerals. Shortly after the executive order, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke released a secretarial order on December 21 directing the initial steps to producing a nationwide geological and topographical survey of the U.S.

House Natural Resources hearing revisits U.S. dependence on foreign minerals

Technology background

On December 12, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held an oversight hearing, “Examining Consequences of America’s Growing Dependence on Foreign Minerals,” to discuss reasons for the declining self-sufficiency of the United States for mineral commodities, and the consequences of relying on foreign sources for critical minerals. 

Tracking the Global Supply of Critical Materials

Friday, January 26, 2018

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 international developments in science, technology, politics, and economics. As a result, information on the global flow of raw materials plays a fundamental role in improving national and international resilience to potential supply disruptions and market changes.

Our speakers are:

This webinar is co-sponsored by the American Geophysical Union, American Institute of Professional Geologists, Australian Institute of GeoscientistsEuropean Federation of GeologistsGeological Society of AfricaGeological Society of LondonGeoscience Information Society, Mineralogical Society of America, and Society of Economic Geologists, with media partnership from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Resources to learn more:

Search the Critical Issues Research Database for reports and factsheets about critical minerals.

The Global Supply of Critical Materials: Assessing and Tracking Critical Mineral Commodities

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