USGS: Nonfuel mineral production jumps $3.6 billion in 2022

U.S. mines produced approximately $98.2 billion in nonfuel mineral commodities in 2022 – an estimated $3.6 billion increase over the 2021 revised total of $94.6 billion, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The information comes from the 28th annual USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries report, released January 31 by the USGS National Minerals Information Center. The report covers more than 90 nonfuel mineral commodities monitored by the USGS, including precious metals such as gold and silver; as well as rare earth minerals such as lanthanum, neodymium and dysprosium. 

“Industries that use nonfuel mineral materials created an estimated $3.64 trillion in value-added products in 2022, which represents a 9% increase from 2021,” said Steven M. Fortier, USGS National Minerals Information Center director. 

“Decision-makers and leaders in both the private and public sectors rely on the crucial, unbiased statistics and data provided by the USGS in the Mineral Commodity Summaries to make business decisions and determine national policy.”

The increase in consumption of nonfuel mineral commodities compared with that in 2021 is attributed to the continued recovery of markets from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Global supply chains and the often-volatile mineral commodity markets were significantly disrupted by the pandemic, especially in the first half of 2020. However, for the United States, the second half of 2020 and all of 2021 saw a rebound in the demand for and prices of nonfuel mineral commodities. This upward trend continued in 2022 with consumption of many mineral commodities now near or exceeding pre-pandemic levels.

The $98.2 billion value of nonfuel mineral commodities produced by U.S. mines in 2022 included other industrial minerals and natural aggregates, as well as ferrous and nonferrous metals. The estimated value of U.S. production of all industrial minerals in 2022 was $63.5 billion, which is about 65% of the total value of U.S. mine production value. 

U.S. metal mine production in 2021 was estimated to be valued at $34.7 billion, 6% lower than the revised value in 2021. The principal contributors to the total value of metal mine production in 2022 were copper (33%), gold (28%), iron ore (15%), zinc (9%) and molybdenum (5%).

Other key highlights from the report include:

  • On February 24, 2022, the USGS published the 2022 Final List of Critical Minerals in the Federal Register (87 FR 10381), which included 50 mineral commodities instead of 35 mineral commodities or mineral groups. The report also outlines several recent initiatives, projects, and legislation focused on securing American supply chains and supporting domestic production projects under the United States Critical Minerals Update section.
  • In October, commissioning began at a cobalt-copper-gold mine and mill in Idaho, where cobalt concentrate will be produced. This mine and one in Morocco are the only mines in the world where cobalt is the principal product.
  • In 2022, the USGS invested $74 million in several projects to collect geochemical, geological and geophysical data to improve mapping of critical mineral resources across the country. Substantial funding for the projects came from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The studies were also funded through the USGS Earth Mapping Resources Initiative, a collaborative project between the USGS and state geological surveys to collect and modernize the nation’s geologic mapping and data resources.  
  • Domestically, $42 billion of metals and mineral products were recycled including metals such as copper, gold, iron and steel scrap, and platinum-group elements to supply domestic consumption. This was a slight decrease in value compared with that in 2021.

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