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

Five-year goals

Minerals Information and Analysis

Long-term goal 4: Ensure availability of long-term data sets describing mineral production and consumption for national security needs

Five-year goals:

  1. Provide timely and authoritative data and information, including data on production, trade, and industry structure, on industrial minerals, international minerals, and metals to Government and private decision makers and the public (approximately $11 million/year)
  2. Provide timely and authoritative data and analyses of the minerals cycle, issues related to sustainable development, and materials flow to private and Government decision makers and the public (approximately $2.5 million/year)
  3. Convert minerals information canvass forms to electronic formats (approximately $250,000/year through FY 2008)

MRP's ongoing minerals information activities include canvassing the non-fuel mining and mineral processing industry in the United States for data on mineral consumption, recycling, inventory stocks, and shipments. Projects also collect and publish production data, trade data, and other information for about 100 commodities and 185 countries. MRP publishes aggregated statistics in about 725 monthly, quarterly, semiannual, annual, and special reports such as the Minerals Yearbook and the Mineral Commodity Summaries. Finally, mineral commodity and country specialists provide expert information on the mineral industries and markets to government agencies, private companies, trade associations, academia, and the general public.

Photo of various MIT publication covers.
Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, USGS minerals information publications were highlighted by the National Mining Association in their monthly publication, Mining Voice, in October 2001.

In addition to continuing the collection, analysis, and publication of basic information on the production and use of mineral commodities, MRP anticipates expanding its research and analysis of minerals and materials life cycles and future uses of minerals and materials. Examples of this type of work include materials flow studies of individual commodities, increased emphasis on analysis of data on the international trade of minerals and mineral products, and investigation of the use of minerals in critical emerging technologies. This work will build upon the basic data collection and topical studies such as The New Materials Society. In addition, future efforts will more explicitly emphasize the role that minerals play in the economic and physical security of the Nation by expanding collaboration with other Federal agencies.

Diagram of the materials flow cycle.
Mineral materials flow through the economy on pathways that are generally similar to many other materials; USGS research identifies specific pathways for individual non-fuel mineral commodities as well as linkages between commodities.

MRP conversion of minerals information canvass forms to electronic formats satisfies one portion of the USGS response to the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA). The project has challenges in both staffing and funding but has made good progress to date (July 2005) and is scheduled for completion in 2008. This work is one part of what is required to ensure that the minerals information required by the Nation is collected, managed, and made available using the most up-to-date technologies available with current funding constraints.

Current MRP activities in the sphere of minerals information and analysis are built on a long tradition of voluntary collaboration between the U.S. government, private sector mineral producers, and governments of many other countries. The precise nature of the information collected and analyzed, the commodities for which data are collected, and the number and content of publications through which these data are made available have changed with changes in need, technology, and funding. During the life of this plan (FY 2006-2010) significant adjustments are anticipated in both the products of this function and the organization through which those products are created. The objectives will remain the same: to provide the Nation with the most important information on the most significant commodities, in formats that meet customer and partner needs, and in a timely manner. In FY 2006, MRP will work with regional management to consult with Federal, private, and academic partners on priorities and opportunities in the realm of minerals information and analysis. Acting on the results of those consultations, regional management will make such adjustments as are necessary to ensure that the highest priority data are provided in a manner consistent with available funding.

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