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The U.S. Geological Survey Mineral Resources Program Five-Year Plan, 2006-2010

Introduction - Description of future initiatives and scientific directions

MRP anticipates finishing several large bodies of work during the life of this five-year plan. As funds and staff are freed up through project completion, opportunities are created to fund new priority work. Completion of national geologic, geochemical, geophysical, and mineral locality databases will make room for a much-anticipated national soil geochemical survey. At the same time, availability of the newly completed national databases will make possible a meaningful revision of the 1995 first-ever national mineral resource assessment of the United States.

Map of porphyry copper deposits in the U.S. from 1995 assessment.
The 1995 USGS National Assessment determined that for gold, silver, copper, lead, and zinc as much metal remains to be discovered as had been discovered in 1995. Updates to this first-ever assessment, using new data and enhanced methods, will begin in FY 2010.

Similarly, current research in industrial minerals will be completed during the term of this plan. Next generation research will likely be aimed at providing process understandings required to make mineral deposit models and then mineral resource assessments for deposits of commodities required by emerging technologies. Rare metals such as ruthenium and indium were not in demand until recently, but now it is clear that the demand is likely to grow, and MRP must prepare to provide process understandings about how deposits of these and related commodities are formed as well as assessments of potential for undiscovered deposits both within the US and around the world.

These evolutionary shifts in program focus are much aided by cost center and regional interaction with customers and collaborators across the Nation and around the world. As the needs of land managers, other Federal agencies, partners in industry and non-governmental organizations, and academic colleagues are brought to light, program shifts are made in response. This synergy between regional and program management also helps to identify where on the landscape projects can be conducted most successfully and achieve greatest benefit.

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