U.S. Mines Produced $82 Billion in Minerals Last Year [Infographic]
Niall McCarthy (Feb. 4, 2021)
The U.S. Geological Survey has announced that American mines produced approximately $82.3 billion worth of minerals last year, lower than the $83.7 billion unearthed in 2019. The figure comes from the 26th annual Mineral Commodity Summaries Report published by the USGS National Minerals Information Center and it was actually a decent performance given Covid-19’s impact on the global economy throughout 2020. In general, U.S. mines were not subject to stay-at-home orders because they were deemed critical industries but decreased demand from downstream industries still resulted in reduced production at some operations.
The report states that the estimated value of metals production grew 3% to $27.7 billion, primarily as a result of increased prices for precious metals. For example, gold reached a record-high price of $2,060 per troy ounce in August. The primary contributors to the total value of U.S. metal production last year were gold (38%), copper (27%), iron ore (15%), and zinc (6%). Industrial mineral production totaled about $54.6 billion, of which $27 billion was construction aggregates production such as sand, gravel and crushed stone. Despite the production figures, the report states that the U.S. still relies heavily on foreign sources for raw and processed minerals with imports making up for than half of U.S. consumption of 46 nonfuel mineral commodities.
Last year, every single U.S. state contributed to the total dollar value of America’s mineral mix with 12 mining more than $2 billion worth of commodities – Nevada, Arizona, Texas, California, Minnesota, Florida, Alaska, Utah, Missouri, Michigan, Wyoming, and Georgia. Nevada is well known for mineral extraction and it is home to the world’s most lucrative gold mine which churns out approximately 116 tons of the precious metal every year. In 2020, Nevada had the highest value of mineral production in the U.S. at $9.14 billion. It was followed by Arizona and Texas with around $7 billion and $6 billion, respectively.