U.S. mines produced an estimated $75.2 billion of raw mineral materials in 2017 – a 6 percent increase over 2016 – the U.S. Geological Survey announced Jan. 31, in its annual Mineral Commodity Summaries.
Nevada is listed as No. 1 out of 11 states recognized for producing more than $2 billion in nonfuel minerals.
The report from the USGS National Minerals Information Center is the earliest comprehensive source of 2017 mineral production data for the world. It includes statistics on more than 90 mineral commodities that are important to the U.S. economy and national security.
“The Mineral Commodity Summaries provide crucial, unbiased statistics that decision-makers and policy-makers in both the private and public sectors rely on to make business decisions and national policy,” said Steven M. Fortier, the center’s director. “Industries — such as steel, aerospace, and electronics — processed nonfuel mineral materials and created an estimated $2.9 trillion in value-added products in 2017 or 15 percent of the total U.S. Gross Domestic Product.”
According to this year’s report, the United States continues to rely on foreign sources for some raw and processed mineral materials. In 2017, the country was 100 percent import-reliant on 21 mineral commodities including rare earths, manganese, niobium and vanadium. This number of 100 percent import-reliant minerals has increased from just 11 commodities in 1984.
The $75.2 billion in nonfuel mineral production by U.S. mines this year is made up of industrial minerals, including aggregates and metals.
Thirteen mineral commodities produced in the United States were worth more than $1 billion each in 2017. The estimated value of U.S. industrial minerals production in 2017 was $48.9 billion, 3 percent more than that of 2016. Increased natural gas and oil production benefited some of the industrial mineral sectors. However, slower construction activity resulted in stagnant production in industrial minerals used in construction.
U.S. metal mine production in 2017 was estimated at $26.3 billion, generating 12 percent more value than that of 2016. Supply concerns and increased investor activity resulted in higher prices in 2017 for most metals. However, despite higher metal prices, domestic production of materials was lower than the previous year.
In 2017, 11 states each produced more than $2 billion worth of nonfuel mineral commodities. These states were, in descending order of value: Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Alaska, California, Minnesota, Florida, Utah, Missouri, Michigan and Wyoming.
Two new gold mines opened in late 2016 and 2017; one in Nevada and one in South Carolina – the first gold mine east of the Mississippi River since 1999.
Strong demand from consumers drove the average price of lithium up 61 percent in 2017 vs. 2016.