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In August 2012 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 FY 2013 MRERP received twenty-nine proposals that were reviewed by a panel of 6 research scientists (2 from USGS and 4 external to the USGS).

The FY 2013 MRERP solicitation included a call for research proposals to address one or more of the following topics:

  • The Mid-continent Rift of the U.S.—Multidisciplinary studies to image and characterize the mineral resource potential of this significant crustal feature.
  • Alaska as a mineral resource frontier—Core science investigations as a foundation for documenting mineral resource potential.
  • Hyperspectral imaging or other geophysical investigations of selected regions of the U.S.—State-of-the-art tools for mineral resource and mineral environmental investigations.
  • Materials flow studies—Investigations to address supply chain analysis (including risk analysis) and sustainable mineral supplies.
  • Critical Mineral Resources—Research to better understand the genesis and regional controls on the distribution of critical mineral-bearing systems. For the purpose of this solicitation critical mineral commodities are defined as follows (in alphabetical order): cobalt, gallium, indium, lithium, niobium, PGEs, REEs, rhenium, tantalum, tellurium.

As a result of the 2013 Federal budget sequestration, the FY 2013 MRERP was suspended. Because sequestration occurred well into the fiscal year, FY 2013 MRERP proposals had already been solicited, received, and evaluated by the review panel by the time sequestration went into effect. It was announced that if funding was available for the MRERP in FY 2014, the USGS would honor its commitment to consider the highest ranked proposals received in the FY 2013 solicitation. Consequently, the MRERP did not announce a request for proposals for Fiscal Year 2014, but the MRP has decided to proceed with funding of the top-ranked proposals received for the FY 2013 MRERP.

A total of $208,010 was awarded to the top four ranked proposals. The USGS is pleased to announce that it supported the following four research projects in the FY 2013/14 MRERP, listed in alphabetical order by principal investigator(s):

Principal Investigator: Julien Allaz
Affiliation: University of Colorado, Boulder
Proposal Title: Investigation of Rare REE-Minerals Occurrence Near Jamestown, CO (US): Mineral Characterization and Genesis

Principal Investigator: Thomas Graedel
Affiliation: Yale University
Proposal Title: Anthropogenic Life Cycles of Scarce Metals

Principal Investigator: John Ridley
Affiliation: Colorado State University
Proposal Title: Extent of Organic Matter Oxidation in the Mid-Continent Rift and Relations to Cu Mineralization

Principal Investigator: Edward Ripley and Chusi Li
Affiliation: Indiana University
Proposal Title: Cu and Re/Os Isotopic Systematics of Ni-Cu-PGE Sulfide Mineralization in the Duluth Complex, the Tamarack Deposit and the Eagle Deposit, Midcontinent Rift System, Minnesota and Michigan

The use of firm, trade, and brand names is for identification purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by the U.S. government.

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