CRITICAL MINERALSU.S. Invests $74M in Federal-State Partnership for Critical Mineral Mapping

Published 22 June 2022

The Department of the Interior announced that, thanks to a substantial investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, over $74.6 million will be distributed in 30 states to invest in geoscience data collection, mapping, data preservation, and scientific interpretation of areas with potential for critical minerals. Improving our understanding of domestic critical mineral resources is a key step in securing a reliable and sustainable supply of the critical minerals.

The Department of the Interior announced that, thanks to a substantial investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, over $74.6 million will be distributed in 30 states to invest in geoscience data collection, mapping, data preservation, and scientific interpretation of areas with potential for critical minerals, under the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Mapping Resources Initiative, or Earth MRI. These investments will help improve our understanding of domestic critical mineral resources, a key step in securing a reliable and sustainable supply of the critical minerals that power everything from household appliances and electronics to clean energy technologies like batteries and wind turbines.  

Funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will account for $64 million in this effort. This is part of the broader $510.7 million investment in USGS from the Law to support scientific innovation. 

The “Bipartisan Infrastructure Law makes historic investments to support scientific research, data mapping and preservation,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “In order to make data driven decisions based on the best available science, we need to equip our premier science agencies with the resources they need. The funding we are announcing today and the partnerships it will foster will help us research and preserve vital scientific data.” 

Under Earth MRI, USGS has partnered with the Association of American State Geologists and state geological surveys to jointly fund and conduct new geologic mapping and geochemical reconnaissance sampling and preserve existing geologic data and samples.  

“These historic investments will modernize our mapping of the United States,” said Sarah Ryker, USGS associate director for energy and mineral resources. “The USGS and the state geological surveys collaborated to prioritize areas where new geoscience data will yield new understanding of the potential for sustainable mineral production and mine waste reprocessing and remediation, along with geothermal resources, groundwater and earthquake hazards.” 

“Merging federal resources with local knowledge of the state surveys creates an efficient and thorough venue to quickly further national understanding of the distribution of our resources,” said Erin Campbell, president of the Association of American State Geologists. “We at the state geologic surveys truly value our partnership with the USGS.” 

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