- Press Releases
- U.S. Reaches Highest Recorded Mineral Import Reliance
January 31, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The USGS today released its annual Mineral Commodity Summaries report, which found the U.S. is more import reliant than ever for the minerals needed by our manufacturing, technology, energy, transportation, infrastructure and defense sectors. In 2022, imports made up more than one-half of the U.S. apparent consumption for 51 nonfuel mineral commodities – up from 2021, when we were import dependent for more than one-half of the U.S. apparent consumption for 47 nonfuel mineral commodities. Digging into that deepening import dependence, China is the top supplier of the minerals our economy needs.
“It’s time for the U.S. to walk the talk on minerals security. Even as our mineral needs skyrocket for everything from electric vehicles to advanced energy technologies and critically important defense systems, the U.S. is stumbling when it comes to our supply chains,” said Katie Sweeney, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the National Mining Association (NMA). “We have never been more dependent on China and others for the minerals that are absolutely essential to modern life and, with each new announcement of a blocked mine or a foreign sourcing agreement with countries that have questionable labor practices, we are locking in our position of competitive weakness.”
Key points from the USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries:
- In 2022, imports made up more than one-half of the U.S. apparent consumption for 51 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 31 critical mineral commodities (including 14 lanthanides, which are listed under rare earths) 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 26, with significant imports of other essential commodities also coming from Russia.
- The estimated value of U.S. metal mine production in 2022 was $34.7 billion, 6% lower than the revised value in 2021. In 2022, the capacity utilization for the metals mining industry was 61%, less than the 63% capacity utilization in 2021.
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