U.S. mines produced an estimated $75.2 billion in minerals in 2017

U.S. metal mine production in 2017 was estimated at $26.3 billion and was 12 percent more 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 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.

USGS notes some other significant findings in the new report on domestic production:

Construction Sand and Gravel, Crushed Stone, and Dimension Stone: Construction-related industrial minerals remained essentially unchanged or saw slight decreases in production and demand in 2017. Much of this decline was due to weather events along the Gulf Coast and in the Southeast, mixed-to-slight growth in expenditures in residential and nonresidential sectors, and a slight decline in expenditures for public sector construction.

Aluminum: U.S. production of primary aluminum decreased for the fifth consecutive year, declining by about 12 percent in 2017 to the lowest level since 1951. U.S. imports of aluminum increased by 16 percent in 2017. 

Rare Earths: The suspension of U.S. rare-earth mining in late 2015 continued throughout 2017. In Nebraska, one company commissioned an operation that produced separated rare earth oxides from recycled fluorescent light bulbs. The company planned to ramp up production to 18 tons per month using a proprietary technology.

Gold: Two new gold mines opened in late 2016 and 2017; one in Nevada and one in South Carolina – this was the first gold mine east of the Mississippi River since 1999.

Cobalt: Average annual cobalt prices more than doubled, owing to strong demand from consumers, limited availability of cobalt on the spot market, and an increase in metal purchases by investors.

Lithium: Strong demand from consumers drove the average price of lithium up 61 percent in 2017 vs. 2016. 

The USGS Mineral Resources Program delivers unbiased science and information to understand mineral

The USGS report Mineral Commodity Summaries 2018 is available online.