year period 1999 to 2004 encompass (a) major improvements to both content and delivery of the MRP’s large data sets and (b) research on the processes through which mineral deposits form and are destroyed. The MRP plan places increased importance on application of the information and technologies derived from minerals research to (a) provide reliable regional, national, and global mineral resource and mineral environmental assessments; (b) understand the influence of mineralizing processes on environmental integrity, systems, public health, and hazards; and (c) provide objective information and analysis to support those who make decisions regarding national security, land use, resource policy, and environmental or public health.

The five-year plan is comprised of five primary scientific goals (see Sidebar 2.1) that provide a framework within which the MRP addresses three groups of minerals-related issues—sustainability and societal need, the environment and public health, and the economy and public policy—relating to basic human needs for mineral resources (see Figure 2.1).

The MRP five-year plan points to deficiencies in expertise and outlines specific actions to correct these deficiencies:

  • Attract staff with expertise in low-temperature aqueous geochemistry, database development and management, industrial minerals, mineral economics, and GIS and spatial analysis.

  • Obtain expertise in quantitative mineral resources assessment and industrial ecology.

  • Provide training for existing staff to develop skills, knowledge, and expertise consistent with present and future core competency needs.

  • Secure new skills and ideas through permanent and short-term hiring, participation by staff in internal and external educational activities, and partnering with USGS divisions, other agencies, and states.

  • Maintain mineral resources expertise and facilities in the three USGS centers and four field offices.

  • Provide opportunities for staff to move among centers or co-locate with teams from other divisions or agencies to facilitate an exchange of expertise and ideas.

The five-year plan anticipates certain actions relating to MRP facilities, namely:

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