by policy makers, the public, and industry to make informed decisions about a mineral or group of minerals. With mineral criticality as a primary theme, the committee then suggests the types of information and research that could best enable informed decisions about mineral policies affecting the national economy and infrastructure. Finally, because the production and analysis of this information require trained professionals, the chapter surveys the state of education related to mineral resources.
The decision by the federal government to collect mineral data is founded on two themes: (1) public understanding of the importance of collection, analysis, and dissemination of statistical data and information about mineral use and demand, mineral production and supply, and other aspects of mineral markets; and (2) support at the highest levels of government for collection of mineral statistical data that address the full life cycles of minerals to inform and monitor public policy. Box 5.1 discusses more conceptually the justification for federal involvement in collection, analysis, and dissemination of mineral information and in mineral-related research.
The nation’s historical commitment to mineral data collection has been robust, with support from both executive and legislative branches. Mineral data collection has been a recognized part of national policy since at least World War II (J. Morgan, Jr., personal communication, January 2007). During the past several decades, numerous pieces of legislation have affirmed the federal commitment to collect mineral information with a foundation in the importance of minerals to the national economy and national security. Among them, the National Materials and Minerals Policy, Research and Development Act of 1980 (P.L. 96-479) suggested that “the Executive Office shall coordinate the responsible departments and agencies to identify material needs and assist in the pursuit of measures that would assure the