USGS Releases 2022 List of Critical National Security Minerals
The United States Geological Survey has released a new list of 50 mineral commodities critical to the economy and national security of the United States after extensive evaluation by multiple agencies.
the 2022 List of Critical Minerals was determined using the latest scientific methods to assess the criticality of minerals. The new list contains 15 more products than the first National Critical Minerals List created in 2018. platinum as individual entries rather than including them as “mineral groups.” Additionally, the 2022 list of critical minerals adds nickel and zinc to the list while removing helium, potash, rhenium, and strontium.
“Critical minerals play an important role in our national security, economy, renewable energy development and infrastructure,” said Tanya Trujillo, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science. “USGS data collection and analysis scans the horizon of emerging issues in crucial supply chains and, every three years, identifies the country’s current vulnerabilities to potential disruptions.”
The new list was created based on the guidelines of the Energy Act 2020, which states that at least every three years the Home Office must review and update the list of critical minerals, update the methodology used to identify potential critical minerals, take interagency feedback and public comments through the Federal Register, and ultimately finalize the list of critical minerals.
The Energy Act of 2020 defines a “critical mineral” as a noncombustible mineral or mineral material that is essential to the economic or national security of the United States and whose supply chain is vulnerable to disruption. Critical minerals are also characterized as performing an essential function in the manufacture of a product, the absence of which would have significant consequences for the economy or national security.
The 2022 List of Critical Minerals, while “final”, is not intended as a permanent designation of mineral criticality, but will be a dynamic list periodically updated to represent current data on supply, demand, concentration of production and current political priorities.
“Mineral criticality is not static, but changes over time,” said Steven M. Fortier, director of the USGS National Mineral Information Center. “The 2022 list of critical minerals was created using the most recent data available for non-combustible mineral commodities. However, we are continuously analyzing mineral markets and developing new methods to determine the varying and evolving risks critical to the mineral supply chain.
Prior to releasing the 2022 List of Critical Minerals, the USGS conducted an extensive review of more than 1,000 comments received from the public, stakeholders, and local and state officials. These comments were received in response to the draft list of critical minerals that the USGS released for public comment in November 2021.
“USGS appreciates the feedback we have received from the public and stakeholders,” Fortier said. “In addition to reviewing each comment for the current methodology, we are also identifying opportunities to include some of the suggestions we received in the next update to the Critical Minerals List methodology.”
The list of critical minerals will be the focus of USGS research quantifying critical mineral potential in the United States. In President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the USGS received funding for its Earth Mapping Initiative, which will update national mapping of these minerals, including those still in the ground and those present in mining waste.
The Energy Act of 2020 directed the USGS to update the list of critical minerals, and the list is timely to provide guidance on the use of bipartisan Infrastructure Act funds, both for the USGS and other agencies.
The 2022 list of critical minerals includes the following – click on a mineral name to find relevant statistics and publications:
- Aluminum, used in almost all sectors of the economy
- Antimonyused in lead-acid batteries and flame retardants
- Arsenicused in semiconductors
- Bariteused in the production of hydrocarbons.
- Berylliumused as an alloying agent in the aerospace and defense industries
- Bismuthused in medical and atomic research
- Ceriumused in catalytic converters, ceramics, glass, metallurgy and polishing compounds
- cesiumused in research and development
- Chromiummainly used in stainless steel and other alloys
- Cobaltused in rechargeable batteries and superalloys
- Dysprosiumused in permanent magnets, data storage devices and lasers
- Erbiumused in fiber optics, optical amplifiers, lasers and glass colorants
- Europiumused in phosphors and nuclear control rods
- Fluorsparused in the manufacture of aluminum, cement, steel, gasoline and fluorinated chemicals
- Gadoliniumused in medical imaging, permanent magnets and steelmaking
- Galliumused for integrated circuits and optical devices like LEDs
- Germaniumused for fiber optic and night vision applications
- Graphite used for lubricants, batteries and fuel cells
- Hafniumused for nuclear control rods, alloys and high temperature ceramics
- Holmiumused in permanent magnets, nuclear control rods and lasers
- Indiumused in liquid crystal displays
- Iridiumused as a coating of anodes for electrochemical processes and as a chemical catalyst
- Lanthanumused to produce catalysts, ceramics, glass, polishing compounds, metallurgy and batteries
- Lithiumused for rechargeable batteries
- Lutetiumused in scintillators for medical imaging, electronics, and some cancer therapies
- Magnesiumused as an alloy and to reduce metals
- Manganeseused in the steel industry and batteries
- neodymiumused in permanent magnets, rubber catalysts, and medical and industrial lasers
- Nickelused to make stainless steel, superalloys and rechargeable batteries
- Niobiummainly used in steel and superalloys
- Palladiumused in catalytic converters and as a catalyzing agent
- Platinumused in catalytic converters
- Praseodymiumused in permanent magnets, batteries, aerospace alloys, ceramics and dyes
- Rhodium platedused in catalytic converters, electrical components and as a catalyst
- Rubidiumused for electronics research and development
- Rutheniumused as catalysts, as well as electrical contacts and chip resistors in computers
- Samariumused in permanent magnets, as an absorber in nuclear reactors and in cancer treatments
- scandiumused for alloys, ceramics and fuel cells
- Tantalumused in electronic components, mainly capacitors and superalloys
- Telluriumused in solar cells, thermoelectric devices and as an alloy additive
- Terbiumused in permanent magnets, fiber optics, lasers and semiconductor devices
- Thuliumused in various metal alloys and in lasers
- Tinused as protective coatings and alloys for steel
- Titaniumused as white pigment or metal alloys
- Tungstenmainly used to make wear resistant metals
- Vanadiummainly used as an alloying agent for iron and steel
- Ytterbiumused for catalysts, scintillometers, lasers and metallurgy
- Yttriumused for ceramics, catalysts, lasers, metallurgy and phosphors
- Zincmainly used in metallurgy to produce galvanized steel
- Zirconiumused in high temperature ceramics and corrosion resistant alloys.
The USGS provides scientific data and unbiased information on mineral resource potential, production, consumption, disposal, and how minerals interact with the environment. theUSGS National Mineral Information Centerprovides the nation with data on the domestic and global supply, demand and trade of minerals and materials. This information is essential for understanding mineral dependencies in economic sectors, predicting potential disruptions in the supply of mineral raw materials, and assessing the impacts of these disruptions.
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