Value of mineral production declined in 2013

March 18, 2014

According to the U.S. Geological Survey’s annual Mineral Commodity Summaries 2014 report, the estimated value of mineral production in the United States in 2013 was $74.3 billion, a slight decrease from $75.8 billion in 2012. The 2013 decrease follows three consecutive years of increases. Net U.S. exports of mineral raw materials and old scrap contributed an additional $15.8 billion to the U.S. economy.

"To put this in context, the $90.1 billion value of combined mined, exported and recycled raw materials is more than five times greater than the 2013 combined net revenues of Internet titans: Amazon, Facebook, Google and Yahoo. This illustrates the fundamental importance of mineral resources to the nation’s economy, technology and national security," Larry Meinert, USGS mineral resources program coordinator said in a statement.

Minerals remain fundamental to the U.S. economy, contributing to the real gross domestic product at several levels, including mining, processing and manufacturing finished products, the USGS said in a statement. The U.S. continues to rely on foreign sources for raw and processed mineral materials.

This annual USGS report is the original source of mineral production data for the world. It includes statistics on about 90 mineral commodities essential to the U.S. economy and national security, and addresses events, trends, and issues in the domestic and international minerals industries.

Production increased for most industrial mineral commodities mined in the U.S., and prices remained stable. Industrial mineral commodities include cement, clays, crushed stone, phosphate rock, salt, sand and gravel, and soda ash, which are used in industrial applications such as building and road construction and chemical manufacturing.

Production of most metals was relatively unchanged compared with that of 2012, but reduced prices resulted in an overall reduction in the value of metals produced. Domestically produced metals include copper, gold, iron, molybdenum and zinc, which are used in a variety of products including consumer goods, electronic devices, industrial equipment and transportation systems.

Domestic raw materials and domestically recycled materials were used to process mineral materials worth $665 billion. These mineral materials, including aluminum, brick, copper, fertilizers, and steel and net imports of processed materials (worth about $24 billion) were, in turn, consumed by downstream industries with a value added of an estimated $2.4 trillion in 2013.

The construction industry began to show signs of improvement in 2012, and those trends continued in 2013, with increased production and consumption of cement, construction sand and gravel, crushed stone and gypsum, mineral commodities that are used almost exclusively in construction.

Mine production of 14 mineral commodities was worth more than $1 billion each in the U.S. in 2013. These were, in decreasing order of value, crushed stone, gold, copper, cement, construction sand and gravel, iron ore (shipped), molybdenum concentrates, phosphate rock, industrial sand and gravel, lime, soda ash, salt, zinc and clays (all types).

In 2013, 12 states each produced more than $2 billion worth of nonfuel mineral commodities. These states were, in descending order of value—Nevada, Arizona, Minnesota, Florida, Texas, Alaska, Utah, California, Wyoming, Missouri, Michigan, and Colorado. The mineral production of these states accounted for 64 percent of the U.S. total output value.

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