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Future Challenges for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Mineral Resources Program
eral production and resources (Barsotti et al., 1998). Initially this information was collected only on public lands but was later expanded to include the eastern United States (Rabbitt, 1979, 1980, 1986, 1989). In 1925 the mineral statistics function was transferred from the USGS to the U.S. Bureau of Mines (USBM) and the USBM was transferred to the Department of Commerce, and in 1934 the USBM was moved back to the Department of the Interior (Table 1.2). Increased demand for minerals data resulted in the inclusion of commodity summaries and industry surveys. Data analysis by commodity experts and their statistician assistants was included in these annual updates.
In 1987 responsibility for energy statistics (e.g., oil, natural gas, coal) was transferred from the USBM to the newly formed Department of Energy. In 1993, budget constraints caused the USBM to cease providing detailed mineral trade statistics by country in each yearbook (USBM, 1993). In 1995 the USBM closed and the minerals information function was transferred in a modified form to the USGS as the MIT.
THE MIT TODAY
The MIT collects, analyzes, and disseminates information on domestic and international supplies of and demand for minerals and materials essential to the U.S. economy and national security. MIT activities are guided in part by statutory requirements in laws and executive orders, which assign the Department of the Interior responsibilities linked to national security and emergency preparedness—specifically, to provide data on national defense industrial base capacity and expansion capabilities and to provide guidance to the minerals industry for ensuring continuity of production (see Sidebar 4.1). There are 12 public laws and several executive orders that authorize and, in some cases mandate, that the Department of the Interior collect, evaluate, and analyze information concerning mineral occurrence, production, and use (John DeYoung, USGS, personal communication, 2002). The MIT fits within the MRP five-year plan (Kathleen Johnson, USGS, personal communication, 2002) under the fourth science goal: “Collect, compile, analyze, and disseminate data and develop and maintain national and international databases for timely release of information to all users”.