USGS Shows Deep, Ongoing Vulnerabilities in Mineral Supply Chains

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The USGS today released its annual Mineral Commodity Summaries report, which found the U.S. is reliant on imports for more than one-half of the U.S. apparent consumption for 49 nonfuel mineral commodities and 100 percent import dependent for 15 of them. Despite all the discussion of reducing U.S. import dependence on China, China continues to be the top supplier of the minerals our economy needs, including for those needed by our energy, manufacturing, technology, transportation, infrastructure and defense sectors.

“Our mineral import dependence continues to be a gaping hole in our economic and national security and we’re clearly not moving fast enough to course correct,” said Rich Nolan, President and CEO of the National Mining Association (NMA). “From electrification and grid transmission buildout to infrastructure and transportation needs, mineral demands are going vertical while mine approvals are at a standstill and unnecessary land withdrawals are taking mineral access in the wrong direction. Despite a great deal of rhetoric around supply chain security, China continues to be our top source of the minerals needed by our economy and these numbers show very little movement to get us back on competitive and secure footing.”

Key points from the USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries:

  • In 2023, imports made up more than one-half of the U.S. apparent consumption for 49 nonfuel mineral commodities, and the United States was 100% net import reliant for 15 of those.
  • Of the 50 mineral commodities identified in the “2022 Final List of Critical Minerals,” the United States was 100% net import reliant for 12, and an additional 29 critical mineral commodities had a net import reliance greater than 50% of apparent consumption.
  • Underscoring the vulnerability of U.S. mineral supply chains, China was the leading source of mineral commodities with a greater than 50% import reliance providing 24, with significant imports of other essential commodities also coming from Russia.
  • The estimated value of U.S. metal mine production in 2022 was $34.9 billion, relatively flat compared with the $34.7 billion in 2022. In 2023, the capacity utilization for the metals mining industry continued a 5-year downward trend and was 59%, less than the 60% capacity utilization in 2022.

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