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Mineral Resources External Research Program (MRERP) 2012

In September 2011 the USGS Mineral Resources Program (MRP) announced a grant and/or cooperative agreement opportunity through its Mineral Resources External Research Program (MRERP) to any individual who had the ability to conduct research consistent with MRP goals and who was not employed by a Federal agency. Applicants can be affiliated (but are not required to be affiliated) with universities, State agencies, Tribal governments or organizations, industry, or other private sector groups. The 2012 MRERP received twenty three proposals that were reviewed by a panel of 6 research scientists (2 from USGS and 4 external to the USGS).

The FY 2012 MRERP solicitation included a call for research proposals (1) to improve our understanding of the geology, mineralogy, geochemistry, and geophysical properties of critical mineral-bearing deposits, (2) to help define regional metallogenic framework studies to understand geotectonic controls on the distribution of critical mineral-bearing systems, (3) to better understand, environmental pathways and biogeochemical behavior of critical and associated metals, (4) to support methods development of critical mineral designation (i.e., criticality and supply risk analysis), and (5) that would contribute to the understanding of the life-cycle and materials flow analysis of critical commodities. For the purpose of this solicitation critical mineral commodities are defined as follows (in alphabetical order): cobalt, gallium, indium, lithium, niobium, platinum group elements, rare earth elements, rhenium, tantalum, and tellurium.

A total of $261,645.00 was awarded to the top six ranked proposals. The USGS is pleased to announce that it will support the following six research projects in the FY 2012 MRERP, listed in alphabetical order by principal investigator(s):

Principal Investigator: John Cottle
Affiliation: University of California, Santa Barbara
Proposal Title: Evaluating mechanisms for rare earth phosphate mineralization in Proterozoic gneiss, Music Valley, California

Principal Investigator: Lang Farmer
Affiliation: University of Colorado
Proposal Title: Collaborative Research with the University of Nebraska and the University of Colorado on the Age and Origin of the REE-rich Elk Creek Carbonatite, Southeast Nebraska (USA)

Principal Investigator: Richard M. Kettler and R. M. Joeckel
Affiliation: University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Proposal Title: Collaborative Research with the University of Nebraska and the University of Colorado on the Age and Origin of the REE-rich Elk Creek Carbonatite, Southeast Nebraska (USA)

Principal Investigator: Lin Ma and Lixin Jin
Affiliation: University of Texas at El Paso
Proposal Title: Systematic investigation of REE mobility and fractionation during continental shale weathering

Principal Investigator: Virginia T. McLemore and Nelia Dunbar
Affiliation: New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources
Proposal Title: Rare earth element (REE) potential and origin of the Cambrian-Ordovician syenites/episyenites in the Caballo and Burro Mountains, southern New Mexico

Principal Investigator: Paul G. Spry
Affiliation: Iowa State University
Proposal Title: Mineralogy and chemistry of tellurium in the hypogene and supergene environments


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