Value of U.S. metal mine production drops 15% – by Andrew Topf ( – February 7, 2016)

The USGS also says the States is now 100% dependent on other countries for 19 minerals

The United States earned less from its mines in 2015 and became more reliant on outside sources for critical metals, according to a new report from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The data comes from statistics gathered by the USGS on about 90 mineral commodities considered essential for the U.S. economy and national security.

Concerns have been raised for years that the United States is too dependent on other countries, namely China, for rare earth elements deemed essential for its aerospace and electronics industries, leading to suggestions that the U.S. create a strategic minerals reserve.

However that plan was scotched with the closure of the only rare earths mine last year in the United States, Molycorp’s (OTCMKTS:MCPIQ) Mountain Pass facility in California. The mine operated in the red for years and was finally felled by low rare earth prices.

Around 95 percent of rare earths are produced in China and according to the USGS the situation has only gotten worse. In 2015 the United States was 100%-dependent on other countries for 19 minerals commodities including manganese, bauxite and graphite.

A map from the report shows Canada and China as the countries the U.S. is most reliant on, followed by South Africa.

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