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Apr 25 -- The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) invites comment to OMB by May 25, 2023 regarding the renewal of data collection for Mineral Production Estimates.

This collection is needed to provide data on mineral production for annual reports published by commodity for use by Government agencies, Congressional offices, educational institutions, research organizations, financial institutions, consulting firms, industry, academia, and the general public. These data and derived information will be published in the “Mineral Commodity Summaries,” the first preliminary publication to furnish estimates covering the previous year's nonfuel mineral industry.
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.) mandate that the Secretary of the Interior collect, evaluate, and analyze information concerning mineral occurrence, production, and use and to inform the Congress of important mining and minerals industry developments, including crisis. Many of the responsibilities regarding mineral resources are delegated 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, consequently 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 minerals, mining, and related materials production are obtained.

The Production Estimate forms (USGS Forms 9-4042-A and 9-4124-A) are very important for commodities that do not have monthly or quarterly canvasses. Obtaining estimated production, shipments, and value data are essential to deriving reliable data for the annual Mineral Commodity Summaries publication. The estimated production data from the Production Estimate forms are extremely important for many annual commodities where final company data were not received in time to include in the annual Minerals Yearbook chapters. Sometimes the estimated data that a company submitted are all the information that could be 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. Each company reports commodity data consistent with industry standards and as mutually agreed upon by the company and the USGS mineral commodity specialists. 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.

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.). Two of the basic provisions of the Act are “the availability of materials is essential for national security, economic well-being, and industrial protection” and the “extraction, production, processing, use, recycling, and disposal of materials are closely linked with natural concerns for energy and the environment.” The data also provide ways of identifying industry trends; making supply and demand analyses on varying time cycles; assembling meaningful conclusions concerning such important indicators as industry vitality; and formulating appropriate recommendations for the Government on such matters as stockpiling, tariffs, research and development, and production incentives. The availability, production, supply and value of some of the minerals are highly variable and must be analyzed more often than on an annual basis.
The canvasses in this collection cover production and consumption in the entire nonfuel minerals mining industry. The data collected are analyzed and used by the USGS to make domestic mineral resource analyses then issue, as promptly as possible, various publications that provides 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 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.

The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) 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 (DOS) 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 Defense National Stockpile Center (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.

USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries: https://www.usgs.gov/centers/national-minerals-information-center/mineral-commodity-summaries
USGS submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202302-1028-001 Click IC List for information collection instrument, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this webpage.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-08672

For AEA members wishing to submit comments, "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

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