US mining output increases by 12% in 2021

The US Geological Survey (USGS) has revealed that operating mines in the United States generated US$90.4 billion in mineral commodities last year, in its 27th annual Mineral Commodity Summaries report published this week.

The 12% increase in output was driven by the restart of the US economy in 2021 from COVID-induced lockdowns and rising global demand for a range of metals and minerals, according to the USGS.

Industrial minerals were the largest individual category, accounting for 63% of total mined production in the US and with a value of $56.6 billion. Crushed stone was the leading non-fuel mineral commodity domestically produced in 2021, accounting for 21% of the total value.

Metal mine production was valued at $33.8 billion – a 23% rise on 2020. The main contributors to the figure were copper (35%), gold (31%), iron ore (13%) and zinc (7%). The top producing states were Arizona, Nevada, Texas, California and Minnesota.

USGS National Minerals Information Center director Steven Fortier said the economic spin-off from these minerals – such as steel, aerospace and electronics – created an estimated $3.32 trillion in value-added products in 2021, an 8% increase from 2020.

USGS also expects to publish a final updated critical minerals list by the end of February, following the close of a 60-day public comment period on January 10.