35 Minerals Critical to U.S. National Security

The United States is heavily reliant on imports of certain mineral commodities that are vital to the Nation’s security and economic prosperity. The Department of the Interior published a list of 35 mineral commodities considered critical to the economic and national security of the United States. This list will be the initial focus of a multi-agency strategy due in August this year to implement President Donald J. Trump’s Executive Order to break America’s dependence on foreign minerals.

The list includes 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. Under the Executive Order, the Commerce Department is responsible for organizing the interagency responses into a final report which is due Aug. 16, 2018, to the President.

The report will include:

– a strategy to reduce the nation’s reliance on critical minerals
– the status of recycling technologies
– alternatives to critical minerals
– options for accessing critical minerals through trade with allies and partners
– a plan for improvements to mapping the United States and its mineral resources
– recommendations to streamline lease permitting and review processes,
– ways to increase discovery, production, and domestic refining of critical minerals

Under the Executive Order, these commodities qualify as “critical minerals” because each has been identified as a non-fuel mineral or mineral material that is essential to the economic and national security of the United States, that has a supply chain 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.

For further information visit www.usgs.gov.