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Sept 8 -- The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) invites comments by November 7, 2022 regarding its Consolidated Consumers' Report of 12 metals and ferroalloys: boron, chromium, cobalt, columbium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, silicon, tantalum, titanium, tungsten, and vanadium.

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), 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 minerals, mining, and related materials production are obtained.

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. These data provide ways of identifying consumption trends, making demand analyses on varying time cycles, and assembling meaningful conclusions concerning such important indicators as industry vitality. The consumption of the 12 metal and ferroalloys on this form is highly variable and must be analyzed each month to furnish information and data for reports and indexes that are prepared more frequently than on an annual basis.

With this information collection, the USGS collects and analyzes data on consumption and stocks of the 12 metals and ferroalloys listed on this form—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.

Information gathered from this collection is used by the Secretary of the Interior in the annual report to the Congress on the state of domestic mining and mineral industries as required by the National Materials and Minerals Policy, Research, and Development Act of 1980 (30 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.). The USGS routinely uses this information to provide analyses and data for decision-making purposes to the Congress and various Presidential councils and commissions. The National Security Council, in particular, has frequently used USGS data in relation to materials mobilization studies and sustainability analyses.

The data collected are analyzed and used by the USGS to issue, as promptly as possible, various publications that provide essential information while carefully protecting trade secrets and privileged or proprietary commercial or financial information. These data form a substantial part of the internal USGS Minerals Information Data System (MIDS), which the USGS uses in legislative programs, research programs, economic studies, analyses, and land use and environmental impact studies. These data are also used to respond to nationwide and global requests for minerals information.

Furthermore, the Strategic and Critical Materials Stock Piling Act (50 U.S.C. 98 et seq.) requires the Secretary to collect data on strategic and critical materials to assist in determining Defense National Stockpile Center (DNSC) stockpile goals. The Secretary delegated this responsibility for data collection to the U.S. Bureau of Mines (USBM) and transferred the responsibility to the USGS after the USBM was abolished in 1996.

Uses of the information

-- The U.S. Department of Commerce uses these USGS data in studies of minerals mobilization, to recommend trade policy and to resolve disputes under the purview of the International Trade Administration, to assist in export development, to develop materials research, to develop annual data on the output of U.S. industries, to develop global mineral production and trade data, and to derive gross domestic product estimates by industry and by State under the purview of the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

-- The U.S. Department of State uses USGS data to support global commodity negotiations, to analyze relations with foreign mineral producers, to recommend tariffs and quotas, and to develop a global minerals database.

-- The U.S. Agency for International Development uses USGS data to assist in determining which minerals are of interest to the United States for development in developing nations.

 -- The Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) use USGS data in studies of antitrust activities, unfair trade practices, and false advertising or misrepresentation of mineral goods or commodities.

 -- The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) uses USGS data to conduct research on materials and minerals within research laboratories of the Army, Navy, and the Air Force, to identify sea lanes that must be protected; for Defense Production Act Title III projects; for DNSC goals and specifications; for details of procurement, storage and disposal; and to identify suppliers of mineral commodities.

 -- The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System uses USGS data to develop periodic (monthly, quarterly, and annual) indicators of industrial production and capacity and capacity utilization.

 -- The National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Research Council use USGS data to ensure maximum benefits from all mineral research.

 -- The U.S. Department of Transportation, the Interstate Commerce Commission, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers use USGS minerals data to determine national and State transportation requirements.
-- Sectors of the public that use the data collected by the USGS include, but are not limited to the agricultural, concrete, construction, ceramics, chemical, coal, electric utilities, electronic engineering, metals, paper, plastics, refractories, and rubber industries. The USGS customer base (recipients of these data) is extensive (over 7 million Web hits annually).

-- The Department of Energy, the Department of Homeland Security, the World Bank, the Federal Highway Administration, and most of our sister agencies within the DOI also rely on these data. The data collected are used to determine the economic health of the Nation, factored into the gross domestic product, and used in forecasts and trend projections in the building and construction industries, which are closely linked to the issue of rebuilding the infrastructure of the country. This information is not available from any other source.  
National Minerals Information Center: https://www.usgs.gov/centers/national-minerals-information-center
Draft data collection instruments and technical documentation have been requested from USGS by AEA.
2020 Submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=201907-1028-003
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-19371

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