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USGS finalizes 2022 critical minerals list

Approved list includes all 50 minerals and metals in new draft Metal Tech News - February 23, 2022


Last updated 3/1/2022 at 3:29pm

United States Critical Minerals USGS 2022 finalized list 50 national defense


The U.S. Geological Survey has finalized the 2022 list of 50 minerals and metals critical to the economic wellbeing and national security of the United States.

The U.S. Geological Survey has finalized a list of 50 minerals and metals critical to the United States. While seemingly a large increase over the 35 critical minerals on the 2018 list, most of the additions are from individually listing the constituents of two mineral groups, rare earth elements and platinum group metals.

In addition to listing each rare earth and platinum group element individually, the changes to the list of U.S. critical minerals include the addition of nickel and zinc, along with the removal of helium, potash, rhenium, strontium, and uranium.

Further details of the changes to the critical minerals list can be read at And then there were 50 critical minerals in the November 10, 2021 edition of Metal Tech News.

"Mineral criticality is not static, but changes over time," said USGS National Minerals Information Center director Steven Fortier.

Due to this fluidity in what minerals and metals might be considered critical to America, the Energy Act of 2020 directs the Department of the Interior to review the list, update the methodology used to identify potential critical minerals, gather feedback from the other federal agencies and public, and ultimately finalize a revised list of critical minerals at least every three years.

The Energy Act of 2020 also provided guidance with an official definition of what should be deemed a critical mineral to the U.S. – a non-fuel mineral or mineral material essential to the economic or national security of the U.S. and which has a supply chain 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 America's economy or national security.

The USGS, which is under the Department of Interior, drafted a list of 50 minerals and metals that meet this criterion.

"The 2022 list of critical minerals was created using the most recent available data for non-fuel mineral commodities," Fortier said. "However, we're always analyzing mineral markets and developing new methods to determine the various and evolving critical mineral supply chain risks."

This draft was released for comment last November, and after two months of input from the public and other agencies, the finalized 2022 critical minerals list includes all the commodities proposed by USGS.

"The USGS appreciates the input we received from the public and stakeholders," Fortier said. "In addition to reviewing each comment for the current methodology, we are also identifying opportunities to include some of the suggestions we received in the next update of the critical minerals list methodology."

The 2022 U.S. critical minerals list with a brief description:

Aluminum, used in almost all sectors of the economy.

Antimony, used in lead-acid batteries and flame retardants.

Arsenic, used in semiconductors.

Barite, used in hydrocarbon production.

Beryllium, used as an alloying agent in aerospace and defense industries.

Bismuth, used in medical and atomic research.

Cerium, used in catalytic converters, ceramics, glass, metallurgy, and polishing compounds.

Cesium, used in research and development.

Chromium, used primarily in stainless steel and other alloys.

Cobalt, used in rechargeable batteries and superalloys.

Dysprosium, used in permanent magnets, data storage devices, and lasers.

Erbium, used in fiber optics, optical amplifiers, lasers, and glass colorants.

Europium, used in phosphors and nuclear control rods.

Fluorspar, used in the manufacture of aluminum, cement, steel, gasoline, and fluorine chemicals.

Gadolinium, used in medical imaging, permanent magnets, and steelmaking.

Gallium, used for integrated circuits and optical devices like LEDs.

Germanium, used for fiber optics and night vision applications.

Graphite, used for lubricants, batteries, and fuel cells.

Hafnium, used for nuclear control rods, alloys, and high-temperature ceramics.

Holmium, used in permanent magnets, nuclear control rods, and lasers.

Indium, used in liquid crystal display screens.

Iridium, used as coating of anodes for electrochemical processes and as a chemical catalyst.

Lanthanum, used to produce catalysts, ceramics, glass, polishing compounds, metallurgy, and batteries.

Lithium, used for rechargeable batteries.

Lutetium, used in scintillators for medical imaging, electronics, and some cancer therapies.

Magnesium, used as an alloy and for reducing metals.

Manganese, used in steelmaking and batteries.

Neodymium, used in permanent magnets, rubber catalysts, and in medical and industrial lasers.

Nickel, used to make stainless steel, superalloys, and rechargeable batteries.

Niobium, used mostly in steel and superalloys.

Palladium, used in catalytic converters and as a catalyst agent.

Platinum, used in catalytic converters.

Praseodymium, used in permanent magnets, batteries, aerospace alloys, ceramics, and colorants.

Rhodium, used in catalytic converters, electrical components, and as a catalyst.

Rubidium, used for research and development in electronics.

Ruthenium, used as catalysts, as well as electrical contacts and chip resistors in computers.

Samarium, used in permanent magnets, as an absorber in nuclear reactors, and in cancer treatments.

Scandium, used for alloys, ceramics, and fuel cells.

Tantalum, used in electronic components, mostly capacitors and in superalloys.

Tellurium, used in solar cells, thermoelectric devices, and as alloying additive.

Terbium, used in permanent magnets, fiber optics, lasers, and solid-state devices.

Thulium, used in various metal alloys and in lasers.

Tin, used as protective coatings and alloys for steel.

United States Critical Minerals USGS 2022 finalized list 50 national defense

United States Geological Survey

According to data collected by the USGS, the United States was reliant on foreign countries for at least 50% of 47 minerals, metals, and mineral commodities.

Titanium, used as a white pigment or metal alloys.

Tungsten, primarily used to make wear-resistant metals.

Vanadium, primarily used as alloying agent for iron and steel.

Ytterbium, used for catalysts, scintillometers, lasers, and metallurgy.

Yttrium, used for ceramic, catalysts, lasers, metallurgy, and phosphors.

Zinc, primarily used in metallurgy to produce galvanized steel.

Zirconium, used in the high-temperature ceramics and corrosion-resistant alloys.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News

With more than 14 years of covering mining, Shane is renowned for his insights and and in-depth analysis of mining, mineral exploration and technology metals.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 907-726-1095


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