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Map of mine and mineral processing plant locations.
Mine and Mineral Processing Plant Locations (Other than crushed stone, sand and gravel, and common clay), 1997 data; from

The problem:

A broad range of existing and emerging technologies are generating unprecedented demand for less-common commodities, such as

  • lithium (Li),
  • indium (In),
  • tellurium (Te),
  • gallium (Ga),
  • antimony (Sb),
  • beryllium (Be), and
  • rare earth elements (REE).

These technologies range from new alternative energy sources to seemingly mundane routine uses. For a variety of reasons, supplies of these elements tend to lag significantly behind demand. One of the principal causes of this lag is the limited amount of exploration done in the last few decades for new sources of many critical minerals. To help ensure an adequate supply of these commodities requires answers to these questions:

  1. How important is the commodity to our present economy and standard of living?
  2. How much of it do we have and to what extent is it economically, environmentally, and technologically available? and
  3. How and where can more be found both in the United States and elsewhere?

What we will do:

We will provide updates, for selected critical mineral commodities, of:

  1. the current state of knowledge of their geology;
  2. known resources, both US and global;
  3. geoenvironmental issues related to their production and use; and
  4. geologic possibilities for finding additional deposits, both US and global.

The final product of this project will be an update of the 1973 U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 820 United States Mineral Resources. This report presents a synthesis of the state of knowledge of the geology of both major and minor mineral commodities (major metals and industrial minerals as well as a number of commodities of lesser importance at that time) along with an appraisal of the known resources, and an examination of the geologic possibilities for finding additional deposits. Since this report was published, considerable advancements have been made concerning the geology of mineral deposits. In addition, several commodities considered of minor importance in 1973 have today become critical to the national economy and security. A revised professional paper will provide up-to-date information to inform government and the public on the status of critical mineral resource commodities in the United States in a global context.


Commodity Chapters

USGS Professional Paper 820 update: planned commodity chapters and their authors are listed. Each chapter will include

  • the current state of knowledge of the commodity's geology;
  • known resources, both US and global;
  • geoenvironmental issues related to their production and use;
  • geologic possibilities of finding additional deposits both US and global.

A series of fact sheets are planned on various mineral commodities. View the list of published fact sheets.

Chapter and Author Information
Commodity or Topic Geologist Phone Email
Overview of Critical Mineral Resource Issues Klaus Schulz (703) 648-6320
Overview of Geoenvironmental Issues Robert Seal (703) 648-6290
Antimony Robert Seal (703) 648-6290
Barite and Barium Craig Johnson (303) 236-7935
Beryllium Nora Foley (703) 648-6179
Cobalt John Slack (703) 648-6337
Fluorite Timothy Hayes (520) 670-5024
Gallium Nora Foley (703) 648-6179
Germanium and Indium Pat Shanks (303) 236-2497
Graphite Gilpin Robinson (703) 648-6113
Lithium Dwight Bradley (907) 786-7434
Manganese William Cannon (703) 648-6345
Niobium and Tantalum Klaus Schulz (703) 648-6320
Platinum Group Elements (PGE) Michael Zientek (509) 368-3105
Rare Earth Elements (REE) Bradley Van Gosen (303) 236-1566
Rhenium David John (650) 329-5424
Selenium Lisa Stillings (775) 784-5803
Tellurium Richard Goldfarb (303) 236-2441
Tin Robert Kamilli (520) 670-5576
Titanium Laurel Woodruff (763) 783-3291
Vanadium Karen Duttweiler Kelley (303) 236-2467
Zirconium and Hafnium James Jones (907) 786-7442


Project Contacts

Klaus Schulz
Phone: 703-648-6320
Eastern Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center

Dwight Bradley
Phone: 907-786-7434
Alaska Science Center Geology Office

Mineral Resources Program Science Priority

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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