U.S. mines produced an estimated $82.2 billion of raw mineral materials in 2018 – a 3 percent increase over the revised total of $79.7 billion in 2017– the U.S. Geological Survey announced in its annual Mineral Commodity Summaries published Feb. 28.
The report from the USGS National Minerals Information Center is the earliest comprehensive source of 2018 mineral production data for the world. It includes statistics on more than 90 mineral commodities that are important to the U.S. economy and national security. It also identifies events, trends and issues in the domestic and international minerals industries. This report covers the full range of nonfuel minerals monitored by the center, not just critical minerals which were highlighted in May by the Department of Interior.
“The Mineral Commodity Summaries provide crucial, unbiased statistics that decision-makers and policy-makers in both the private and public sectors rely on to make business decisions and national policy,” said Steven M. Fortier, the center’s director. “Industries – such as steel, aerospace and electronics – processed nonfuel mineral materials and created an estimated $3.02 trillion in value-added products in 2018, which is a 6 percent increase over 2017.”
According to this year’s report, the United States continues to rely on foreign sources for some raw and processed mineral materials. In 2018, imports made up more than half of U.S apparent consumption for 48 nonfuel mineral commodities, and the U.S. was 100 percent net import reliant for 18 of those.
For 2018, critical minerals comprised 14 of the 18 mineral commodities with 100 percent net import reliance and 15 additional critical mineral commodities had a net import reliance greater than 50 percent of apparent consumption. The largest number of nonfuel mineral commodities were supplied to the U.S. from China, followed by Canada.
The $82.2 billion worth of nonfuel minerals produced by U.S. mines in 2018 is made up of industrial minerals, including natural aggregates and metals.
The estimated value of U.S. industrial minerals production in 2018 was $56.3 billion, about 7 percent more than the revised value of 2017. Of this total, the value of industrial minerals production was dominated by crushed stone, and construction sand and gravel (construction aggregates) was 45 percent or $25.3 billion.
U.S. metal mine production in 2018 was estimated at $25.9 billion, which was 4 percent less than 2017. Lower average metal prices and lower production of many metals contributed to the reduction in value for 2018. The principal contributors to the total value of metal mine production in 2018 were gold, copper, iron ore and zinc.
U.S. production of 13 mineral commodities were each valued at more than $1 billion in 2018. These were, in decreasing order of value: crushed stone, cement, construction sand and gravel, gold, copper, industrial sand and gravel, iron ore, zinc, lime, salt, phosphate rock, soda ash and clays (all types).
Twelve states each produced more than $2 billion worth of nonfuel mineral commodities in 2018. These states were, in descending order of production value: Nevada, Arizona, Texas, California, Minnesota, Florida, Alaska, Utah, Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Wyoming.
Some other findings in the report include:
• Critical Minerals List – A list of 35 minerals or mineral material groups were identified on the list of critical minerals published in the Federal Register May 18, 2018 (83 FR 23295). These were aluminum (bauxite), antimony, arsenic, barite, beryllium, bismuth, cesium, chromium, cobalt, fluorspar, gallium, germanium, graphite (natural), hafnium, helium, indium, lithium, magnesium, manganese, niobium, platinum group metals, potash, the rare earth elements group, rhenium, rubidium, scandium, strontium, tantalum, tellurium, tin, titanium, tungsten, uranium, vanadium, and zirconium.
• Aluminum – At the end of 2018, the additional import duty for aluminum articles, imposed as a result of findings under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962m as amended (19 U.S.C. 1862), remained at 10 percent for most countries of origin and 20 percent for Turkey. The only countries that did not have the increased import duty for aluminum were: Argentina, on which import quotas were in place, and Australia. Aluminum imports were estimated to have decreased by 11 percent.
• Industrial Minerals – Increased construction activity resulted in the increased prices and production of some industrial minerals, especially those used in infrastructure, oil and gas drilling operations, and residential construction in 2018.
• Rare earths – Domestic mining of rare earths resumed in 2018, having last been produced in 2015.
• Steel – At the end of 2018, the additional import duty for steel articles, imposed as a result of findings under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1862), remained at 25 percent for most countries of origin and was 50 percent for Turkey. The only countries that did not have the increased import duty for steel were: Argentina, Brazil and the Republic of Korea, all of which had import quotas in place, and Australia. Steel mill product imports were estimated to have decreased by 8 percent.
• Zinc – A zinc mine reopened in New York, having last been operational in 2008.
The USGS Mineral Resources Program delivers unbiased science and information to understand mineral resource potential, production, consumption and how minerals interact with the environment.
The USGS National Minerals Information Center collects, analyzes and disseminates current information on the supply of and the demand for minerals and materials in the United States and about 180 other countries. This information is essential in planning for and mitigating impacts of potential disruptions to mineral commodity supply due to both natural hazard and man-made events.
The USGS report Mineral Commodity Summaries 2019 is available here: https://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/mcs/2019/mcs2019.pdf. Hardcopies will be available later in the year from the Government Printing Office, Superintendent of Documents. For ordering information, please call (202) 512-1800 or (866) 512-1800 or go online.
For more information on this report and individual mineral commodities, please visit the USGS National Minerals Information Center. To keep up-to-date on USGS mineral research, follow us on Twitter or visit the Mineral Resources Program webpage.
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