CRITICAL MINERALS2022 List of Critical Minerals

Published 11 March 2022

The U.S. Geological Survey has released a new list of 50 mineral commodities critical to the U.S. economy and national security. The 2022 list of critical minerals was determined using the most up-to-date scientific methods to evaluate mineral criticality.

The U.S. Geological Survey has released a new list of 50 mineral commodities critical to the U.S. economy and national security after an extensive multi-agency assessment.

The 2022 list of critical minerals was determined using the most up-to-date scientific methods to evaluate mineral criticality. The new 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.” In addition, the 2022 list of critical minerals adds nickel and zinc to the list while removing helium, potash, rhenium and strontium.

“Critical minerals play a significant role in our national security, economy, renewable energy development and infrastructure,” said Tanya Trujillo, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science. “USGS data collection and analysis scans the horizon for emerging issues in crucial supply chains, and every three years identifies the nation’s current vulnerabilities to potential disruptions.”

The new list was created based on directives from the Energy Act of 2020, which indicates that at least every three years, the Department of the Interior must review and update the list of critical minerals, update the methodology used to identify potential critical minerals, 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. 

The 2022 list of critical minerals, while “final,” is not intended as a permanent designation of mineral criticality but will be a dynamic list updated periodically to represent current data on supply, demand, concentration of production and current policy priorities. 

Mineral criticality is not static, but changes over time,” said Steven M. Fortier, USGS National Minerals Information Center director. “The 2022 list of critical minerals was created using the most recent available data for non-fuel mineral commodities. However, we’re always analyzing mineral markets and developing new methods to determine the various and evolving critical mineral supply chain risks.”