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  • U.S. Department of the Interior U.S. Geological Survey

    Open-File Report 2020–1127 Version 1.1, December 7, 2020

    Mineral Resources Program

    Investigation of U.S. Foreign Reliance on Critical Minerals—U.S. Geological Survey Technical Input Document in Response to Executive Order No. 13953 Signed September 30, 2020

  • Investigation of U.S. Foreign Reliance on Critical Minerals—U.S. Geological Survey Technical Input Document in Response to Executive Order No. 13953 Signed September 30, 2020

    By Nedal T. Nassar, Elisa Alonso, and Jamie L. Brainard

    Mineral Resources Program

    Open-File Report 2020–1127 Version 1.1, December 7, 2020

    U.S. Department of the Interior U.S. Geological Survey

  • U.S. Department of the Interior DAVID BERNHARDT, Secretary

    U.S. Geological Survey James F. Reilly II, Director

    U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia: First release: 2020 Revised: December 7, 2020 (ver. 1.1)

    For more information on the USGS—the Federal source for science about the Earth, its natural and living resources, natural hazards, and the environment—visit https://www.usgs.gov or call 1–888–ASK–USGS.

    For an overview of USGS information products, including maps, imagery, and publications, visit https://store.usgs.gov/.

    Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

    Although this information product, for the most part, is in the public domain, it also may contain copyrighted materials as noted in the text. Permission to reproduce copyrighted items must be secured from the copyright owner.

    Suggested citation: Nassar, N.T., Alonso, E., and Brainard, J.L., 2020, Investigation of U.S. Foreign Reliance on Critical Minerals—U.S. Geological Survey Technical Input Document in Response to Executive Order No. 13953 Signed September 30, 2020 (Ver. 1.1, December 7, 2020): U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020–1127, 37 p., https://doi.org/ 10.3133/ ofr20201127.

    ISSN 2331-1258 (online)

    https://www.usgs.gov https://store.usgs.gov/ https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201127

  • iii

    Acknowledgments

    The authors would like to acknowledge the valuable input and feedback of U.S. Geological Survey colleagues Abraham D. Padilla, Katherine S. McMahon, Steven D. Textoris, and Michael J. Magyar and the formal peer reviews by Joyce A. Ober and Warren C. Day.

  • v

    Contents Acknowledgments ........................................................................................................................................iii Abstract ...........................................................................................................................................................1 Statement of Issue .........................................................................................................................................1 Introduction.....................................................................................................................................................1 U.S. Mineral Commodity Net Import Reliance ..........................................................................................5

    Overview.................................................................................................................................................5 Factors for Consideration ....................................................................................................................5

    Indirect Trade Reliance ...............................................................................................................7 Embedded Trade Reliance ..........................................................................................................7 Foreign Ownership of Mineral Assets and Operations .........................................................8

    Additional Risk Considerations ..................................................................................................................10 Fragile Domestic Mineral Supply Chains ........................................................................................10 Exposure as a Component of Risk ....................................................................................................10

    Strategies for Reducing Net Import Reliance .........................................................................................12 Mineral Commodity Overview....................................................................................................................14 Summary........................................................................................................................................................24 References Cited..........................................................................................................................................25 Appendix 1 Mineral Commodity Narratives .........................................................................................27

    Figures

    1. Diagram showing mineral commodity production concentration ........................................3 2. Diagram showing China’s share of global primary mineral commodity

    production over time ....................................................................................................................4 3. Graph showing U.S. net import reliance over time .................................................................4 4. Diagrams showing source of mineral commodities consumed in the United States .......6 5. Diagram showing concentration of U.S. imports of various mineral commodities ...........7 6. Graph and map showing China’s global cobalt footprint. A, Cobalt mine,

    intermediate, and refinery production or capacity by China’s domestic operations, equity-based share of Chinese firms overseas, and rest of world for 2016. B, Map identifies cobalt operations in China and those with some portion of Chinese equity ownership ......................................................................................................9

    7. Graph showing comparison of net import reliance of the United States and China. .....10 8. Graph showing assessment of mineral commodity supply risk ..........................................11 9. Graph showing scenario analysis as a tool for evaluating the potential of

    different strategies to reduce net import reliance ................................................................13

    Tables

    1. Summary of some of the forms that are produced and traded for each mineral commodity, foreign reliance considerations, trends for the global supply chain, and technical options for the domestic supply chain ...........................................................14

  • vi

    Conversion Factors U.S. customary units to International System of Units

    Multiply By To obtain

    Mass ounce, avoirdupois (oz) 28.35 gram (g) pound, avoirdupois (lb) 0.4536 kilogram (kg) ton, short (2,000 lb) 0.9072 metric ton (t) ton, long (2,240 lb) 1.016 metric ton (t)

    International System of Units to U.S. customary units

    Multiply By To obtain

    Mass gram (g) 0.03527 ounce, avoirdupois (oz) kilogram (kg) 2.205 pound avoirdupois (lb) metric ton (t) 1.102 ton, short [2,000 lb] metric ton (t) 0.9842 ton, long [2,240 lb]

    Abbreviations APT ammonium paratungstate

    D.R. Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo

    E.O. Executive Order

    HHI Hirschman-Herfindahl Index

    HTS Harmonized Tariff Schedule

    NdFeB neodymium-iron-boron permanent magnets

    NDS National Defense Stockpile

    NIR Net import reliance

    PGM platinum-group metal

    REE rare earth element

    SEG samarium, europium, and gadolinium

    SEG+ samarium, europium, gadolinium plus a mix of heavy rare earth elements

    SmCo samarium-cobalt permanent magnets

    U.S. United States of America

    USGS U.S. Geological Survey

  • vii

    8A1A

    2A

    3B 4B 5B 6B 7B 8B 11B 12B

    3A 4A 5A 6A 7A

    element names in blue are liquids at room temperature element names in red are gases at room temperature element names in black are solids at room temperature

    Periodic Table of the Elements

    Los Alamos National Laboratory Chemistry Division

    39

    *

    **

    As 39.10

    85.47

    132.9

    (223)

    9.012

    24.31

    40.08

    87.62

    137.3

    (226)

    44.96

    88.91

    47.88

    91.22

    178.5

    (267) (268) (269) (270) (277) (278) (281) (282) (285) (289) (289)(286) (293) (294) (294)

    50.94

    92.91

    180.9

    52.00

    95.96

    183.9

    54.94

    (98)

    186.2

    55.85

    101.1

    190.2 192.2

    102.9

    58.93 58.69

    106.4

    195.1 197.0

    107.9

    63.55 65.39

    112.4

    200.5

    10.81

    26.98

    12.01

    28.09

    14.01

    69.72 72.64

    114.8 118.7

    204.4 207.2

    30.97

    74.92

    121.8

    209.0 (209) (210) (222)

    16.00 19.00 20.18

    4.003

    32.06 35.45 39.95

    78.96 79.90 83.79

    127.6 126.9 131.3

    140.1 140.9 144.2 (145) 150.4 152.0 157.2 158.9 162.5 164.9 167.3 168.9 173.0 175.0

    232

    138.9

    (227) 231 238 (237) (244) (243) (247) (247) (251) (252) (257) (258) (259) (262)

    Tc 43

    11

    1

    3 4

    12

    19 20 21 22 23 24 25