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DMA, DMEA, OME mineral exploration assistance program file downloads

History of the Programs

The Defense Minerals Administration (DMA), Defense Minerals Exploration Administration (DMEA), and Office of Minerals Exploration (OME) mineral exploration programs were active over the period 1950-1974.  Under these programs, the federal government contributed financial assistance in the exploration for certain strategic and critical minerals.  Federal funds for mineral exploration under the programs were available from 1950 to 1974, although limited funds for OME administrative work were continued until 1979.  The mineral exploration programs were officially terminated in 1993. The information about a mining property that was collected under these programs were called dockets. A Docket is a collection of material (application, contract, correspondence, maps, reports, results) about a property for which an individual applied for exploration assistance from the Federal Government. Information found in dockets describe where mineral deposits were examined, what was found, and whether it was mined.  As such, they provide very useful information to private industry regarding potential and non-potential prospect areas; provide the USGS with useful information on mineral occurrences that are used in national assessments for particular mineral deposits; and provide other US Federal Agencies (BIA, BLM, and EPA) information relevant to land management, permitting, and leasing.

The Defense Production Act

The Defense Production Act of 1950 (Public Law 774, 81st Congress) provided financial assistance to private enterprise for the production of goods and services necessary for national security.  Title III, Section 302 of the Defense Production Act, provided for encouragement of exploration, development, and mining of critical and strategic metals and minerals.  Under provisions of the Act, the Secretary of the Department of the Interior, established the Defense Minerals Administration, within the department, by a Secretarial Order dated December 4, 1950.  Along with other duties, the Defense Minerals Administration was intended to serve as a direct contracting agency for minerals exploration.

Mineral Exploration under Public Law 85-701

National defense needs of mineral supplies were considered to have been met in 1958, but it was recognized that there continued to be a need for mineral raw materials to meet the expanding national economy.  To meet this need, Congress, on August 21, 1958, enacted Public Law 85-701, under which governmental financial assistance, on a participating basis, was available to private industry for stimulation of exploration for such mineral raw materials as might be designated by the Secretary of the Department of the Interior.  Under this law, the Secretary of the Department of the Interior established the Office of Minerals Exploration program on September 11, 1958.

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