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USGS Mineral Commodities Summary 2020: Arizona’s piece of the pie

The U.S. Geological Survey’s 42nd annual ‘Mineral Commodity Summary’ catalogs global and U.S. mineral production for 2019. The estimated total value of nonfuel mineral production in the U.S. was $86.3 billion, a 3% increase from 2018. Production of  metals in 2019 was $28.1 billion, nearly identical to that of 2018.  At $58.2 billion, industrial mineral production accounted for 67% of nonfuel mineral production in the U.S.

Export of raw mineral materials was $3.7 billion, an increase of 27% from 2018. Collectively, domestic raw and recycled mineral material production was $770 billion; of this iron and steel scrap contributed $17.6 billion.

Imported minerals made up more than one-half of the U.S. consumption for 46 nonfuel mineral commodities; 17 mineral commodities (e.g., arsenic, graphite, manganese, and fluorspar) rely wholly on imports.  Canada and China dominate mineral imports to the U.S., followed by Australia, Russia, Germany, South Africa, and Mexico.  

On another front, the USGS reported on the risk involved in the event of supply disruption of essential mineral commodities to the U.S. manufacturing sector. The USGS identified 23 mineral commodities, including, some rare earth elements, cobalt, niobium and tungsten, among others, that pose the highest risk of disrupting U.S. manufacturing.

How Arizona Mineral Production Fared in 2019

Each year we peruse the Mineral Commodity Summary for insight into how Arizona mineral production compares with that of other States. Arizona followed Nevada as the #2 state in U.S. nonfuel mineral production (Pie diagram). Nevada mineral production was $8,190 million – 9.5% of U.S. total of nonfuel mineral production; Arizona weighted in with 8.08% of US production. Arizona non-fuel mineral production in 2019 reached $6,970 million.  Texas followed closely on the heels of Arizona ($6,470 million), with Minnesota and California rounding out the top five producing states.

Nonfuel mineral distribution of top 5 states

Principal mineral commodities of Arizona

Principal nonfuel mineral products of Arizona include: cement (portland), copper, molybdenum concentrates, sand & gravel, crushed stone, dimension stone, bentonite, clay, gypsum, helium, industrial sand, perlite, pumice, salt, and zeolites. For more than 100 years Arizona has led the U.S. in copper production. In 2019 Arizona produced 68% of all copper in the U.S., worth roughly $5.3 billion. Molybdenum byproducts were recovered at four Arizona copper mines: Bagdad, Morenci, Pinto Valley and Sierrita.

Arizona ranks third in the value of construction sand and gravel with ~$550 million in production. Crushed stone produced in Arizona ranked 31st with over $100 million in production. Arizona ranked 1st in value of gemstones produced in the U.S.

For additional information on Arizona mines operating in 2019, see ‘Directory of Active Mines in Arizona: FY 2019’ by Richardson and others 2019.