While the U.S. government still does not speak with one voice on strategic and critical minerals and a formulation of a coherent national mineral strategy still has a long way to go, input regarding what minerals need particular attention comes from various sources.
One of them is the mining industry itself, with American Elements releasing its annual Endangered Elements List – “a list of elements which by their scarcity and technological importance threaten America’s long-term prospects” – earlier this month. Michael Silver, the company’s CEO, summarizes the list and puts it in context in a piece for the Huffington Post.
The five elements making the American Elements list this year are:
- Niobium, an essential element for the steel industry and used in super alloys for military and aerospace applications. U.S. import dependency for Niobium, which also makes the top tier in the American Resources Risk Pyramid is 100% according to USGS figures.
- Antimony, which is critical for the auto industry. U.S. import dependency for Antimony, which makes the bottom tier of the American Resources Risk Pyramid, is 87%.
- Strontium, an element that is essential for the auto industry. U.S. import dependency for Strontium, which makes the American Resources Watch List, is 100%.
- Platinum, which is not only a precious metal, but an essential ingredient for industry and science. U.S. import dependency for Platinum, which makes the top tier of the American Resources Risk Pyramid, is 88%.
- Yttrium, which is a key component in many green technologies, as well as the auto industry and medical applications. U.S. import dependency for Yttrium, which makes the top tier of the American Resources Risk Pyramid, is 100%.