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USGS Seeks Public Comment on Draft List of Critical Minerals

November 9, 2021

The U.S. Geological Survey announced that it is seeking public comment on the 50 minerals that make up the Critical Minerals list. List includes minerals key to all sectors of economy including modern technology like mobile phones and national defense.

“The USGS’s critical minerals list provides vital information for industry, policymakers, economists and scientists on the most important minerals when it comes to U.S. supply chains,” said Tanya Trujillo, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science. “The statistics and information are crucial to understanding America’s vulnerability to disruptions in the supply of critical minerals, including data on the worldwide supply and demand for minerals and materials essential to the U.S. economy and national security.”

Under the Energy Act of 2020, a “critical mineral” is defined as a non-fuel mineral or mineral material essential to the economic or national security of the U.S., as well as the supply chain, which is vulnerable to disruption. Critical minerals are also characterized as serving an essential function in the manufacturing of a product, the absence of which would have significant consequences for the economic or national security.

In 2018, the Department of the Interior worked in consultation with other cabinet agencies to develop the nation’s first list of critical minerals in response to Executive Order 13817.

Under the Energy Act of 2020, at least every three years the Department is required to review and update the list of critical minerals, update the methodology used to identify potential critical minerals, take interagency feedback and public comment through the Federal Register, and ultimately finalize the list of critical minerals, also referred to as the whole-of-government critical minerals list.

After two years, working with the National Science and Technology Council’s Critical Minerals Subcommittee, the USGS published a report describing the updated methodology for assessing critical minerals for the list and latest results. This report formed the basis for the draft 2021 whole-of-government critical minerals list.

 

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