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Future Challenges for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Mineral Resources Program Future Challenges for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Mineral Resources Program Committee to Review the U.S. Geological Survey’s Mineral Resources Program Board on Earth Sciences and Resources Committee on Earth Resources Division on Earth and Life Studies NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS WASHINGTON, D.C. www.nap.edu
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Future Challenges for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Mineral Resources Program THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Grant No. 02HQAG0091 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Geological Survey. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-08993-X (Book) International Standard Book Number 0-309-52669-8 (PDF) Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu Copyright 2003 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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Future Challenges for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Mineral Resources Program THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council www.national-academies.org
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Future Challenges for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Mineral Resources Program COMMITTEE TO REVIEW THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY’S MINERAL RESOURCES PROGRAM Members CORALE L. BRIERLEY, Chair, Brierley Consultancy LLC, Highlands Ranch, Colorado GEORGE H. BRIMHALL, University of California, Berkeley RODERICK G. EGGERT, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado JESSICA ELZEA KOGEL, Thiele Kaolin Company, Sandersville, Georgia JAMES M. FRANKLIN, Franklin Geosciences Ltd., Nepean, Ontario, Canada RHEA GRAHAM, New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, Albuquerque MARK J. LOGSDON, Geochimica, Inc., Ojai, California DREW A. MEYER, Vulcan Materials Company, Birmingham, Alabama GLENN C. MILLER, University of Nevada, Reno ANTHONY J. NALDRETT, University of Toronto, Canada Staff TAMARA L. DICKINSON, Senior Program Officer KERI H. MOORE, Program Officer (through March 2003) MONICA R. LIPSCOMB, Research Assistant KAREN L. IMHOF, Senior Project Assistant
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Future Challenges for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Mineral Resources Program COMMITTEE ON EARTH RESOURCES Members SUSAN M. LANDON, Chair, Thomasson Partner Associates, Denver, Colorado JAMES C. COBB, University of Kentucky, Lexington VICKI J. COWART, Consulting Geologist, Denver, Colorado PATRICK CUMMINS, Western Governors’ Association, Denver, Colorado THOMAS V. FALKIE, Berwind Natural Resources Corporation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania MURRAY W. HITZMAN, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado MICHAEL L. MENGE, U.S. Senate Committee for Energy and Natural Resources, (retired), Dover, Arkansas JOHN N. MURPHY, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania DONALD L. PAUL, ChevronTexaco Corporation, San Ramon, California MARK C. ROBERTS, Michigan Technological University, Houghton JOAQUIN RUIZ, University of Arizona, Tucson RUSSELL E. STANDS-OVER-BULL, Arrow Creek Resources, Inc., Pryor, Montana R. BRUCE TIPPIN, North Carolina State University, Asheville LAWRENCE P. WILDING, Texas A&M University, College Station P. MICHAEL WRIGHT, Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory, Idaho Falls Staff TAMARA L. DICKINSON, Senior Program Officer KERI H. MOORE, Program Officer (through March 2003) KAREN L. IMHOF, Senior Project Assistant
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Future Challenges for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Mineral Resources Program BOARD ON EARTH SCIENCES AND RESOURCES Members GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, Chair, University of Virginia, Charlottesville JILL BANFIELD, University of California, Berkeley STEVEN R. BOHLEN, Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Washington, D.C. VICKI COWART, Consulting Geologist, Denver, Colorado DAVID L. DILCHER, University of Florida, Gainesville ADAM M. DZIEWONSKI, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts WILLIAM L. GRAF, University of South Carolina, Columbia RHEA GRAHAM, New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, Albuquerque V. RAMA MURTHY, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis DIANNE R. NIELSON, Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Salt Lake City RAYMOND A. PRICE, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario MARK SCHAEFER, NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia BILLIE L. TURNER II, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts THOMAS J. WILBANKS, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee Staff ANTHONY R. DE SOUZA, Director PAUL M. CUTLER, Senior Program Officer TAMARA L. DICKINSON, Senior Program Officer DAVID A. FEARY, Senior Program Officer ANNE M. LINN, Senior Program Officer RONALD F. ABLER, Senior Scientist KRISTEN L. KRAPF, Program Officer LISA M. VANDEMARK, Program Officer YVONNE P. FORSBERGH, Research Assistant MONICA R. LIPSCOMB, Research Assistant VERNA J. BOWEN, Administrative Associate JENNIFER T. ESTEP, Administrative Associate
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Future Challenges for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Mineral Resources Program RADHIKA CHARI, Senior Project Assistant KAREN L. IMHOF, Senior Project Assistant TERESIA K. WILMORE, Project Assistant WINFIELD SWANSON, Editorial Consultant
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Future Challenges for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Mineral Resources Program Acknowledgment of Reviewers This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s (NRC) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Alex Glover, Feldspar Corporation Jean-Michel M. Rendu, Mining Consultant Jeffrey Christian, CPM Group Larry Grayson, University of Missouri-Rolla Joaquin Ruiz, University of Arizona Iddo Wernick, World Resources Institute James Davis, California State Geologist (retired) Samuel S. Adams, Independent Consultant Ann S. Maest, Buka Environmental
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Future Challenges for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Mineral Resources Program Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Geoffrey P. Feiss, College of William and Mary, Provost. Appointed by the NRC, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of the report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
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Future Challenges for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Mineral Resources Program Preface The very importance of minerals to the economy and security of the United States demands that a vast amount of information on the geological, economic, and environmental aspects of minerals from all parts of the world is readily available to government, private, and public sectors. Since 1879 the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has been the preeminent organization providing vital minerals information not only on a national basis but internationally as well. In 1995 the USGS developed a plan for its minerals program, a mission-driven research program specifically focused on mineral issues that integrates environmental, resource, and economic factors. In 1996 the National Research Council (NRC) conducted a critical evaluation of this plan and provided input on how it could be modified to improve its effectiveness in meeting the long-term needs of the nation. The committee concluded that the plan represented a significant departure from the past and that its implementation would result in important directional changes in the USGS’s mineral resource activities (NRC, 1996). Since the 1996 NRC evaluation, the USGS minerals program has indeed undergone significant changes, including a new moniker, the Mineral Resources Program (MRP). The program changes resulted not only from incorporation of the 1996 recommendations but also assimilation of the minerals information function from the U.S. Bureau of Mines, decreases in budgetary allocations, and managerial reorganization. These substantial program transformations prompted the USGS to request a re-assessment
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Future Challenges for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Mineral Resources Program by the NRC of its minerals program. This re-assessment examines the USGS’s response to the 1996 report, evaluates the minerals information function, examines changes in the MRP’s customer base, and offers recommendations for the program’s future. This report is the culmination of many hours of evaluation, deliberation, writing, and rewriting by a dedicated committee whose expertise and experience were invaluable to the final product. The committee thanks Keri Moore for her unwavering enthusiasm and persistence in obtaining necessary information, and we offer our very best wishes to her in her new career. The committee is especially indebted to Tammy Dickinson, who stepped in mid-report and ably guided us to a logical conclusion and contributed substantially to the final report. Corale L. Brierley Chairman
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Future Challenges for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Mineral Resources Program Contents EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 1 MINERALS SCIENCE AND INFORMATION: THE FEDERAL ROLE 17 U.S. Minerals Production and Consumption, 18 Why a Federal Minerals Program?, 21 The U.S. Geological Survey and the Mineral Resources Program, 28 Study and Report, 30 2 THE MINERAL RESOURCES PROGRAM TODAY 33 The MRP’s Priorities 1999 to 2004, 33 Organization, 37 Budget, 38 Staffing, 39 Publications, 42 Projects, 43 Users, 46 Summary, 48
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Future Challenges for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Mineral Resources Program 3 THE 1996 NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL REVIEW OF THE MINERAL RESOURCE SURVEYS PROGRAM AND THE USGS RESPONSE 51 1996 General Recommendations, 52 1996 Recommendations for the MRSP Subprograms, 68 Summary, 77 4 THE MINERALS INFORMATION TEAM 79 The MIT Today, 80 Partners and Users, 88 Discussion, 89 Summary, 94 5 ENVISIONING THE FUTURE MINERAL RESOURCES PROGRAM 95 Framework for the Vision and Mission, 95 Programmatic Areas, 100 Implementation, 108 Summary, 112 REFERENCES 115 APPENDIXES 119 A Mineral Resources and Society: A Review of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Mineral Resource Surveys Program Plan 121 B Biographical Sketches of Committee Members 127 C Information Provided to the Committee 133 D Commodities Surveyed by the Minerals Information Team 135