USGS Minerals Report: A Tale of Economy and Environment

March 3, 2010

The annual USGS report on minerals extraction, consumption, and value in the US, released Feb. 16, 2010, provides a takeoff point for numerous environmental stories.

Substantial drops in gravel, sand, cement, and gypsum extraction and consumption offer a different way to cover the economic impacts of the recession. Data on coal mining extraction and employment provide insights on stories related to climate change and air pollution. Inroads to environmental disturbance stories are offered by data such as the nearly 50% decline in iron ore production.

Our long-standing dependence on foreign sources of key materials is reflected in the data showing that 100% of 19 materials such as manganese, asbestos, quartz crystal, gemstones, and vanadium come from countries such as China, Canada, Russia, India, and South Korea. Bringing the story back home, charts and maps pinpoint the locations, value, and types of minerals extracted in your state. Many other story leads are tucked away in the 196-page report.