Listicle: What are the nation’s 2022 critical minerals?

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Frankincense, gold, and myrrh are the season’s essentials for a king of king you might meet on your life’s journey.

As for those high-tech gadgets, wind turbines, electric cars, and national security hardware going under the tree this year, there’s a list from the U.S. Geological Survey of the top 50 most crucial minerals for the nation, some of which are found in Alaska.

The top three critical mineral producing states are Nevada, Arizona, and Texas. Alaska ranks No. 7 for production of critical minerals.

Click a mineral’s name on the USGS list of critical minerals to find relevant statistics and publications:

  • Aluminum, used in almost all sectors of the economy
  • Antimony, used in lead-acid batteries and flame retardants
  • Arsenic, used in semi-conductors
  • 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
  • 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.

The 2022 list contains 15 more commodities compared to the nation’s first list of critical minerals created in 2018. Much of the increase in the new list is the result of splitting the rare earth elements and platinum group elements into individual entries rather than including them as “mineral groups,” the USGS explained. In addition, the 2022 list of critical minerals adds nickel and zinc to the list while removing helium, potash, rhenium and strontium.

Every three years, the Department of the Interior must review and update the list of critical minerals, per the Energy Act of 2020, and update the methodology used to identify potential critical minerals. The USGA must take interagency feedback and public comment through the Federal Register, and ultimately finalize the list of critical minerals.

The Energy Act of 2020 defines a “critical mineral” as 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 the economy or national security. 

5 COMMENTS

  1. While not a mineral, the thing missing most for any of the above to matter is in extremely short supply.

    Common sense.

  2. Alaska should not mine or give any rare minerals to anybody. Keep them for future bargaining chips. The feds can go pound sand. Our state not Washington’s piggy bank feds need to get out of our state.

  3. Does it make sense NOW why the Nasty NINE plus the JUneau ELITE want to silence the PEOPLE ? why they keep taking our dividends and cheating at elections? Alaska is 2/3rd conservatives but ” THEY” dont like that. Remember the whole Hunter’s Laptop thing involves rare earth minerals and deals made with China and Iran.

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