Describe and evaluate the current mineral and mineral product databases and other sources of information available for decision making on mineral policy issues.
Identify types of information and possible research initiatives that will enhance understanding of critical minerals and mineral products in a global context.
Chapters 2 through 5 have examined the various dimensions of the overall task, and each chapter concluded with principal findings. This chapter presents the committee’s principal conclusions, drawing on each previous chapter’s findings, and summarizes the committee’s recommendations following from these conclusions. Throughout its examination of these issues, the committee found it essential to consider minerals, and critical minerals, in the context of a global mineral and material cycle—from mineral ores at the mine to metallic and nonmetallic minerals in potentially recyclable materials and products.
The committee established parameters regarding a mineral’s importance in use and availability (supply risk) to apply the criticality matrix to 11 minerals or mineral groups: copper, gallium, indium, lithium, manganese, niobium, platinum group metals (PGMs), rare earth elements (REs), tantalum, titanium, and vanadium. The committee did not have the time or resources to evaluate all potentially critical minerals. Instead, the committee selected the minerals identified above on the basis of two considerations. First, the set of minerals the committee examined had to illustrate the range of circumstances that the matrix methodology accommodates and considers. For example, in its selection of the minerals examined in this report, the committee considered minerals used in large quantities throughout the economy in traditional applications and others used in limited quantities in a small number of (often emerging) applications, minerals produced largely as by-products, and other minerals for which recycling of scrap is an important source of supply. Second, the set of minerals had to consist of those that, in the professional judgment of committee members, would likely be included in a more comprehensive assessment of all potentially critical minerals. The committee used a combination of quantitative