An update on this February 2018 post is needed because the US Department of the Interior recently issued its final list of critical minerals (see end of post).
Gold, silver, and gems aren’t the only treasures out there. The materials that make our modern life possible aren’t always pretty, but they are very important. The rare ones, like the platinum group elements, are also expensive.
Recently, the US government put together a list of the minerals that it considers to be most important to the security and economic welfare of the country. While insiders recognize a difference between “critical” and “strategic,” in practice the two are pretty much the same minerals.
This list has a link for each of the 35 minerals, showing how they are used and lots of other information.
In addition, here is a webinar on critical minerals from 2016.
Update: On May 18, 2018, Interior issued its final list, which is the same as the proposed list:
- Aluminum (bauxite)
- Graphite (natural)
- Platinium-group metals
- Rare earth elements
According to the press release,
. . . 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.
I have done a few general posts on these, but I think a new feature here is in order, starting next week: Mineral Monday. It will look at the mineral itself, the supply chain vulnerabilities (if I can find them in a relatively quick online search), and the mineral’s essential use(s) that make it so necessary for the US economy/national security.
Featured image: Clint Budd, CC BY 2.0.