2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis (912 October 2011)
Paper No. 124-8
Presentation Time: 4:10 PM-4:30 PM

CRITICAL MINERALS SCIENCE AT THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY

DOEBRICH, Jeff L., U.S. Geological Survey, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Mail Stop 913, Reston, VA 20192, jdoebric@usgs.gov

In response to the 2008 National Academies’ study “Minerals, Critical Minerals, and the U.S. Economy”, the USGS Mineral Resources Program (MRP) embarked on a new path of critical minerals science with the establishment of program activities that are evaluating mineral resource and supply issues of commodities that are of increasing importance to the national economy but may be subject to disruption in supply. As part of this effort, the USGS recently published an inventory of known domestic rare-earth reserves and resources (http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2010/5220/). This study reviews basic geologic facts about rare earths relevant to assessing the security of supply, as well as, current U.S. consumption and imports of rare earths, current knowledge of domestic resources, and possibilities for future domestic production. The report also examines the reliability of alternative foreign sources of rare earths as part of a review of identified global rare earth resources.

The USGS is expanding its activities in critical minerals research and assessment and continues to provide supply-demand analysis for a wide variety of nonfuel commodities including those critical to economic and national security. The MRP is exploring means to quantify criticality and supply risk and is developing parameters and an approach to designate commodities as critical. The MRP is supporting research to better characterize deposit types that host critical mineral resources and to identify environmental issues associated with development of these resources. Domestic and global inventories of identified resources for selected critical mineral commodities are being compiled as a foundation for assessment of undiscovered resources. The MRP publishes supply-demand analyses annually in the Mineral Commodity Summaries and Minerals Yearbook, and conducts specialized material flow studies. This full spectrum of mineral resource science allows for a comprehensive understanding of the complete life cycle of critical mineral resources and materials – resource formation, discovery, production, consumption, use, recycling, and reuse – and allows for an understanding of environmental issues of concern throughout the life cycle. This science supports informed decision making by industry, the public, and all levels of government.

2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis (912 October 2011)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 124
Rare Earth Elements and Critical Minerals for a Sustainable and Secure Future
Minneapolis Convention Center: Room 101A-C
1:30 PM-5:30 PM, Monday, 10 October 2011

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 43, No. 5, p. 317

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