Economic Minerals Program Background
The Bureau historically has conducted research and published research and public information on economic minerals ranging from construction and chemical materials to metals and other critical mineral resources. The Economic Minerals Program entails both geoscience research and analysis on resources and recovery as well as analysis of markets and applications. The latter effort includes internal collaboration with the Bureau’s Center for Energy Economics (CEE) for specific energy value chain uses and supply-demand dynamics. Examples are hydraulic fracturing sands for oil and gas production; lithium and other critical minerals for alternative energy systems; uranium for nuclear energy. Altogether, the range of investigation enables complete evaluation of economic minerals from earth science to economics and incorporating environmental and operational considerations.
Assessment of Rare Earth Elements and Critical Minerals in Coal and Coal Ash in the U.S. Gulf Coast
The BEG was recently awarded a $1.5 million grant in 2021 from the Department of Energy to investigate the critical mineral potential of Gulf Coast lignite deposits and the by-products of burning coal. This two year joint effort between The University of Texas at Austin, the USGS, the Geological Survey of Alabama, and the Universities of Kentucky, Wyoming, and North Dakota, with dozens of industry and regulatory partners. Rare earth elements are the primary interest of this study, which have been shown to concentrate in certain locations within coal seams, and to be technically enhanced in coal ash. Please visit the project website for more details.
Mineral Resources of Texas
The mineral industry of Texas comprises a wide variety of extractable commodities ranging from industrial sand, crushed stone, to silver, uranium, and rare earth element resources. Texas generally is the third leading state in terms of annual non-fuel mineral resources production value and is the leading industrial minerals-producing state. The industry is consistently a top five annual producer of several mineral resource commodities and is a vital industry for local, state, and regional economies. This website provides the public with information on current and historic sites for non-fuel mineral mines or prospects in the state of Texas. To proceed in viewing a map of Texas Mineral Resources, click the graphic below. Select any of the research topics for additional information on current projects.