0 votes
asked ago by (52.5k points)
Feb 24 -- The National Minerals Information Center, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), invites comments to OMB by March 28, 2022 regarding the extension of a series of Industrial Mineral Surveys.
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has policy responsibility for the Nation’s mineral resources and their derived industries. The National Mining and Minerals Policy Act of 1970 (30 U.S.C. 21(a)) and the National Materials and Minerals Policy, Research and Development Act of 1980 (30 U.S.C. 1601 et seq) make it incumbent upon the Secretary of the Interior to collect, evaluate, and analyze information concerning mineral occurrence, production, and use and to inform the Congress of important developments, including crisis, in the minerals industries. Many of the responsibilities regarding mineral resources are assigned to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) by Secretarial Order No. 3193, where they are discharged through a staff of mineral commodity specialists and statistical assistants that includes chemists, economists, engineers, geologists, and physicists.

Two fundamental activities—mining and agriculture—form the basis of the Nation’s wealth because they furnish all the raw materials and most of the energy that are used in all other industries. Additionally, the mining industry supplies the raw materials to make fertilizers, pesticides, and soil conditioners that significantly enhance the performance of the agricultural sector. For those raw materials not produced domestically in sufficient quantities, supplies must be imported. This adversely affects the U.S. balance of trade and, for some materials, puts U.S. industries at risk of supply disruptions because of global political developments. Imports may also compete with domestic production thus jeopardizing U.S. jobs. Accordingly, the Government requires accurate, timely data on raw materials production and related industries to formulate policies that ensure national security and economic well-being. The USGS canvass forms are the fundamental means by which data on nonfuel industrial minerals, mining, and related materials production are obtained.
Industrial minerals are widely used and are essential materials in such sectors as agriculture, manufacturing, and construction. About 50 compounds, minerals, and rocks are classified as industrial minerals. Crushed stone and sand and gravel account for the largest tonnage of industrial minerals in use and in terms of industry size. Production of several industrial minerals, such as glauconite and wollastonite, are low in quantity, but are critical for some important applications. Other higher-value materials, such as iodine, iron oxide pigments, quartz crystal, and specialized zeolite forms are classified as industrial minerals. Some industrial minerals, such as iodine and boron, are extracted and (or) mined in only a few locations worldwide, and a few, such as crushed stone and sand and gravel, are mined nationwide and globally.

In general, industrial minerals are lower valued materials than metals, and fewer organizations track their production and consumption. Consequently, USGS publications are important sources for industrial minerals data. Production of industrial minerals, such as aggregates, cement, and gypsum, are factors used in gauging the state of the economy; others, such as nitrogen, phosphate rock, and potash, are critical to agricultural industries; and industrial minerals, such as bromine, fluorspar, salt, soda ash, and sulfur, are critical to chemical manufacturing. The gathering and publication of statistics on industrial minerals is critical to evaluating the availability of these materials for these, and many other applications, and highlights the need to continue canvasses of these industries.

The construction aggregates quarterly (Mineral Industry Surveys) is a periodic on-line statistical and economic publication designed to provide timely statistical data on production-for-consumption of construction sand and gravel and crushed stone. The information produced by the USGS quarterly canvass (USGS Form 9-4142-Q) on these important mineral commodities has become a significant indicator of construction activity at the national as well as State level. It is sent every quarter to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System along with other commodity data; other commodity data are sent monthly. This canvass generates production-for-consumption estimates by quarters for each State, except Alaska and Hawaii, and each U.S. Census Bureau region, based on information reported voluntarily by producing companies. This report is published at the end of the following quarter after the reporting quarter. The latest release of the quarterly Mineral Industry Surveys contains the most recent estimated totals and percentage changes and updates previously published similar information. This quarterly canvass and the affiliated report help fill the gap for current production data until the annual Minerals Yearbook chapters are published about 12 months after the end of the reporting year.

The data obtained from this collection are used by Government agencies, Congressional offices, educational institutions, research organizations, financial institutions, consulting firms, industry, and the public. With this information collection, the USGS collects and analyzes data on production, consumption, stocks, and value of industrial minerals—several which have traditionally been considered as strategic and critical. Each company reports commodity data consistent with industry standards and as mutually agreed upon by the company and the USGS mineral commodity specialists
The data collected by the monthly canvasses are necessary if the USGS is to meet the demands for current, reliable information for industry and Government mineral analysts who prepare monthly and bimonthly indexes and commodity reports to analyze the industry. Additionally, the data are necessary if the USGS is to meet the requirements of 30 U.S.C. 1601 et seq. and 30 U.S.C. 21(a) for the minerals that have erratic supply, demand, value, availability, or seasonal production patterns. The industrial minerals covered by these canvasses have volatile markets or seasonal production patterns; therefore, users of the published information are able to track trends on a monthly basis. Collecting data on a monthly basis, rather than at less frequent intervals, such as quarterly, semiannually, or annually allows important trends to be detected earlier.

Some commodity data are needed monthly because of the importance of these industries to the industrial economy, such as for the transportation, construction, and electronics sectors. DOD planners use these data to evaluate purchase and disposal plans for the DNSC. The mining and metal products industries regularly use these data to evaluate production and consumption plans. Minerals policy planners need the most up-to-date information in making decisions concerning these industries.
When persons outside the USGS submit requests for information, the USGS mineral commodity specialists and statistical assistants respond in a timely manner. The USGS receives and responds to several hundred e-mail and telephone inquiries each month. During these discussions and interactions, views are exchanged on the availability of data, frequency of collection, the clarity of instructions and recordkeeping, disclosure, reporting format, data elements to be recorded, disclosed, or reported, burden estimate and other aspects of this information collection. These views help the USGS to improve its data collection and publications.

Based on such feedback, information-use patterns are established commodity by commodity. Once patterns are determined, canvass forms are revised to collect data and to meet the information needs. As information request patterns change, the data collected and reported are modified. Within the last 3 years of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval for this collection, no direct changes were made to the collection instruments.
The MIDS system and off-the-shelf software packages such as spreadsheets are used to compile and tabulate the data and to prepare tables for publication. National, State, and regional tabulations are prepared and published annually at https:// https://www.usgs.gov/centers/nmic in table format from data collected by these canvasses. Preliminary estimates are prepared and published in the Mineral Commodity Summaries (https://www.usgs.gov/centers/nmic/mineral-commodity-summaries) which is the earliest Government publication to furnish estimates covering the previous year’s nonfuel mineral industry. Data are also published in the monthly, quarterly, and annual issues of the Mineral Industry Surveys (https://www.usgs.gov/centers/nmic/mineral-industry-surveys) series and the Annual Reports from the Minerals Yearbook (https://www.usgs.gov/centers/nmic/publications) and other USGS publications.

Tables present various aspects of commodities, such as consumption and production of products together with industry stocks. Economic changes are incorporated, and industry trends and activities are studied. Statistical data are processed and analyzed by the USGS National Minerals Information Center’s Data Collection and Analysis Group, which also establishes timing for all key steps in the work.
The canvasses in this information collection are conducted as a complete census. No sampling is performed. The total universe is approximately 14,265 respondents that are business or other for-profit institutions and approximately 345 respondents that are State, local or tribal government institutions. The sources used to develop the census are industry directories (such as the annual Skillings North American Mining Directory) and trade periodicals (such as North American Sulfur Services), and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) commodity specialists’ direct contacts with industry specialists. Once a year, commodity specialists update the census.
USGS Minerals Information Data System https://mids.er.usgs.gov/
Industrial Minerals Surveys submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202103-1028-001 Click IC List for data collection instruments, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this site.
FR notice inviting comment: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-03891  
For AEA members wishing to submit comments to OMB, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

Please log in or register to answer this question.