NEWS RELEASE: Interior Seeks Public Comment on Draft List of 35 Minerals Deemed Critical to U.S. National Security and the Economy (February 16, 2018)

List includes minerals key to all sectors of economy including tech and defense

Date: February 16, 2018

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Interior today announced it is seeking public comment by March 19, 2018, on a draft list of minerals considered critical to the economic and national security of the United States.

President Donald J. Trump directed the Secretary of the Interior, in coordination with the Secretary of Defense and in consultation with the heads of other relevant agencies, to publish a list of critical minerals in the Federal Register in Executive Order 13817, which was issued on December 20, 2017.

Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey compiled the list—prepared with the Bureau of Land Management’s cooperation— and is seeking comments including the rationale for potential additions or subtractions.

“The work of the USGS is at the heart of our nation’s mission to reduce our vulnerability to disruptions in the supply of critical minerals,” said Dr. Tim Petty, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science. “Any shortage of these resources constitutes a strategic vulnerability for the security and prosperity of the United States.”

The draft list of minerals that DOI published today as critical to the United States includes 35 mineral commodities, such as aluminum—used in almost all sectors of the economy; the platinum group metals—used for catalytic agents; rare-earth elements—used in batteries and electronics; tin—used as protective coatings and alloys for steel; and titanium—overwhelmingly used as a white pigment or as a metal alloy. A full list of the 35 mineral commodities follows.

Under the Executive Order, a “critical mineral” is a mineral identified to be a non-fuel mineral or mineral material essential to the economic and national security of the United States, the supply chain of which is vulnerable to disruption, and that serves an essential function in the manufacturing of a product, the absence of which would have significant consequences for the economy or national security.

DATES: To ensure consideration, written comments must be submitted before March 19, 2018.

ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments online at: by entering “DOI-2018-0001” in the Search bar and clicking “Search,” or
by mail to Critical Minerals List, MS-1530, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ryan Nichols, 202-208-7250, Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to contact Mr. Nichols during normal business hours. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with this individual. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. Normal business hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for Federal holidays.

The full list of critical minerals includes the following—click a mineral’s name to find relevant statistics and publications:

Aluminum (bauxite), used in almost all sectors of the economy
Antimony, used in batteries and flame retardants
Arsenic, used in lumber preservatives, pesticides, and semi-conductors
Barite, used in cement and petroleum industries
Beryllium, used as an alloying agent in aerospace and defense industries

Bismuth, used in medical and atomic research
Cesium, used in research and development
Chromium, used primarily in stainless steel and other alloys
Cobalt, used in rechargeable batteries and superalloys
Fluorspar, used in the manufacture of aluminum, gasoline, and uranium fuel

Gallium, used for integrated circuits and optical devices like LEDs
Germanium, used for fiber optics and night vision applications
Graphite (natural), used for lubricants, batteries, and fuel cells
Hafnium, used for nuclear control rods, alloys, and high-temperature ceramics
Helium, used for MRIs, lifting agent, and research

Indium, mostly used in LCD screens
Lithium, used primarily for batteries
Magnesium, used in furnace linings for manufacturing steel and ceramics
Manganese, used in steelmaking
Niobium, used mostly in steel alloys

Platinum group metals, used for catalytic agents
Potash, primarily used as a fertilizer
Rare earth elements group, primarily used in batteries and electronics
Rhenium, used for lead-free gasoline and superalloys
Rubidium, used for research and development in electronics

Scandium, used for alloys and fuel cells
Strontium, used for pyrotechnics and ceramic magnets
Tantalum, used in electronic components, mostly capacitors
Tellurium, used in steelmaking and solar cells
Tin, used as protective coatings and alloys for steel

Titanium, overwhelmingly used as a white pigment or metal alloys
Tungsten, primarily used to make wear-resistant metals
Uranium, mostly used for nuclear fuel
Vanadium, primarily used for titanium alloys
Zirconium, used in the high-temperature ceramics industries

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