2021 Draft List of Critical Minerals, 62199-62203 [2021-24488]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 214 / Tuesday, November 9, 2021 / Notices [FR Doc. 2021–24408 Filed 11–8–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–12–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services [OMB Control Number 1615–0015] Agency Information Collection Activities; Extension, Without Change, of a Currently Approved Collection: Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security. ACTION: 30-Day notice. AGENCY: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be submitting the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The purpose of this notice is to allow an additional 30 days for public comments. DATES: Comments are encouraged and will be accepted until December 9, 2021. SUMMARY: Written comments and/or suggestions regarding the item(s) contained in this notice, especially regarding the estimated public burden and associated response time, must be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal website at https:// www.regulations.gov under e-Docket ID number USCIS–2007–0018. All submissions received must include the OMB Control Number 1615–0015 in the body of the letter, the agency name and Docket ID USCIS–2007–0018. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: USCIS, Office of Policy and Strategy, Regulatory Coordination Division, Samantha Deshommes, Chief, Telephone number (240) 721–3000 (This is not a toll-free number; comments are not accepted via telephone message.). Please note contact information provided here is solely for questions regarding this notice. It is not for individual case status inquiries. Applicants seeking information about the status of their individual cases can check Case Status Online, available at the USCIS website at https:// www.uscis.gov, or call the USCIS Contact Center at (800) 375–5283; TTY (800) 767–1833. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 ADDRESSES: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:00 Nov 08, 2021 Jkt 256001 Comments The information collection notice was previously published in the Federal Register on July 30, 2021, at 86 FR 41078, allowing for a 60-day public comment period. USCIS did not receive any comments in connection with the 60-day notice. You may access the information collection instrument with instructions, or additional information by visiting the Federal eRulemaking Portal site at: https://www.regulations.gov and enter USCIS–2007–0018 in the search box. The comments submitted to USCIS via this method are visible to the Office of Management and Budget and comply with the requirements of 5 CFR 1320.12(c). 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Overview of This Information Collection (1) Type of Information Collection Request: Extension, Without Change, of a Currently Approved Collection. PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 62199 (2) Title of the Form/Collection: Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers. (3) Agency form number, if any, and the applicable component of the DHS sponsoring the collection: I–140; USCIS. (4) Affected public who will be asked or required to respond, as well as a brief abstract: Primary: Business or other forprofit; Not-for-profit institutions. The information collected on this form will be used by USCIS to determine eligibility for the requested immigration benefits under section 203(b)(1), 203(b)(2), or 203(b)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. (5) An estimate of the total number of respondents and the amount of time estimated for an average respondent to respond: The estimated total number of respondents for the information collection I–140 is 148,000 and the estimated hour burden per response is 1.08 hour. (6) An estimate of the total public burden (in hours) associated with the collection: The total estimated annual hour burden associated with this collection is 159,840 hours. (7) An estimate of the total public burden (in cost) associated with the collection: The estimated total annual cost burden associated with this collection of information is $20,596,559. Dated: November 4, 2021. Samantha L. Deshommes, Chief, Regulatory Coordination Division, Office of Policy and Strategy, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security. [FR Doc. 2021–24482 Filed 11–8–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111–97–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Geological Survey [GX22GS00EMMA900] 2021 Draft List of Critical Minerals U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior. ACTION: Notice of opportunity for public comment. AGENCY: The United States remains heavily dependent on imports of certain mineral commodities that are vital to the Nation’s economic and national security interests. This dependency has the potential to create strategic vulnerabilities arising from adverse foreign actions, pandemics, natural disasters, or other events that can disrupt the supply of critical minerals. The Department of the Interior (DOI) SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\09NON1.SGM 09NON1 jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 62200 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 214 / Tuesday, November 9, 2021 / Notices published a list of 35 critical minerals 1 or mineral groups on May 18, 2018, in response to Executive Order 13817—A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals. DATES: To ensure consideration, written comments must be submitted before December 9, 2021. ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments online at https:// www.regulations.gov by entering ‘‘DOI– 2021–xxxx’’ in the Search bar and clicking ‘‘Search,’’ or by mail to Draft List of Critical Minerals, MS–102, U.S. Geological Survey, 12201 Sunrise Valley Dr., Reston, VA 20192. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: James Mosley, (703) 648–6312, jmosley@usgs.gov. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1–800–877–8339 to contact Mr. Mosley during normal business hours. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with this individual. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. Normal business hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for Federal holidays. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to Section 7002 (‘‘Mineral Security’’) of Title VII (‘‘Critical Minerals’’) of the Energy Act of 2020 (The Energy Act) (Pub. L. 116–260, December 27, 2020, 116th Cong.),2 the Secretary of the Interior (The Secretary), acting through the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey, and in consultation with the Secretaries of Defense, Commerce, Agriculture, and Energy and the United States Trade Representative, is to ‘‘publish in the Federal Register for public comment—(A) a description of the draft methodology used to identify a draft list of critical minerals; (B) a draft list of minerals, elements, substances, and materials that qualify as critical minerals; and (C) a draft list of critical minerals recovered as byproducts and their host minerals.’’ Under the Energy Act, Sec. 7002 (c)(5)(A) the methodology and list shall be reviewed at least every 3 years. On behalf of the Secretary, the Associate Director for Natural Hazards exercising the authority of the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey presents here a draft list of 50 mineral commodities proposed for inclusion on 1 Final Critical Minerals List 2018 https:// www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/05/18/ 2018-10667/final-list-of-critical-minerals-2018. 2 Energy Act of 2020 (Division Z of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021): https:// rules.house.gov/sites/democrats.rules.house.gov/ files/BILLS-116HR133SA-RCP-116-68.pdf. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:00 Nov 08, 2021 Jkt 256001 the 2021 list of critical minerals: Aluminum, antimony, arsenic, barite, beryllium, bismuth, cerium, cesium, chromium, cobalt, dysprosium, erbium, europium, fluorspar, gadolinium, gallium, germanium, graphite, hafnium, holmium, indium, iridium, lanthanum, lithium, lutetium, magnesium, manganese, neodymium, nickel, niobium, palladium, platinum, praseodymium, rhodium, rubidium, ruthenium, samarium, scandium, tantalum, tellurium, terbium, thulium, tin, titanium, tungsten, vanadium, ytterbium, yttrium, zinc, and zirconium. Much of the increase in the number of mineral commodities, from 35 commodities and groups on the final 2018 list to 50 commodities on the 2021 draft list, is the result of splitting the rare earth elements and platinum group elements into individual entries rather than including them as mineral groups. In addition, the 2021 draft list adds nickel and zinc and removes helium, potash, rhenium, and strontium. The Energy Act of 2020 explicitly excluded fuel minerals from the definition of a critical mineral and the Mining and Mineral Policy Act of 1970 3 formally defined uranium as a mineral fuel, so uranium was not evaluated for inclusion on the 2021 draft list of critical minerals. Minerals were included on the 2021 draft list of critical minerals based on three evaluations: (1) A quantitative evaluation wherever sufficient data were available, (2) a semi-quantitative evaluation of whether the supply chain had a single point of failure, and (3) a qualitative evaluation when other evaluations were not possible. The report 4 describing the methodology and the technical input from the U.S. Geological Survey may be found at the following link: https://doi.org/10.3133/ ofr20211045 and further details are summarized in the supplementary information section below. The U.S. Geological Survey seeks comments on the make-up of the draft list and the rationale associated with potential additions or subtractions to the draft list as described in the methodology report. The Energy Act of 2020, Section 7002(c)(4)(A), defined critical minerals as those which: (i) ‘‘are essential to the economic or national security of the United States; 3 Mining and Minerals Policy Act of 1970 https:// openei.org/wiki/Mining_and_Minerals_Policy_Act_ of_1970. 4 Nassar, N.T., and Fortier, S.M., 2021, Methodology and technical input for the 2021 review and revision of the U.S. Critical Minerals List: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2021–1045, 31 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ ofr20211045. PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 (ii) the supply chain of which is vulnerable to disruption (including restrictions associated with foreign political risk, abrupt demand growth, military conflict, violent unrest, anticompetitive or protectionist behaviors, and other risks through-out the supply chain); and (iii) serve an essential function in the manufacturing of a product (including energy technology-, defense-, currency-, agriculture-, consumer electronics-, and healthcare-related applications), the absence of which would have significant consequences for the economic or national security of the United States.’’ Section 7002(a)(3)(B) further defined the term by stating that ‘‘The term ‘‘critical mineral’’ does not include— (i) fuel minerals; (ii) water, ice, or snow; (iii) common varieties of sand, gravel, stone, pumice, cinders, and clay.’’ The Mining and Minerals Policy Act of 1970, 30 U.S.C. 21(a), defined ‘‘mineral fuels’’ as ‘‘including oil, gas, coal, oil shale and uranium’’. Based on these definitions, uranium was not evaluated for inclusion on the 2021 draft list of critical minerals. The U.S. Government and other organizations may also use other definitions and rely on other criteria to identify a material or mineral as ‘‘critical’’ or otherwise important. This list is not intended to replace related terms and definitions of materials that are deemed strategic, critical or otherwise important (such as definitions related to the National Defense Stockpile, Specialty Materials, and Militarily Critical Materials). In addition, there are many minerals not listed on the critical minerals list that are important to the U.S. economy. These materials are not considered critical as defined by the Energy Act because the U.S. largely meets its needs for these through domestic mining and processing and thus a supply disruption is considered unlikely. The 2021 draft list of critical minerals is based on a methodology developed over several years with leadership by the U.S. Geological Survey and interagency input coordinated by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Critical Minerals Subcommittee. The 2021 update to the methodology was published by the U.S. Geological Survey in 2021 (https://doi.org/10.3133/ ofr20211045) and includes three evaluations: (1) A quantitative evaluation wherever sufficient data were available, (2) a semi-quantitative evaluation of whether the supply chain E:\FR\FM\09NON1.SGM 09NON1 62201 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 214 / Tuesday, November 9, 2021 / Notices had a single point of failure, and (3) a qualitative evaluation when other evaluations were not possible. The quantitative evaluation is an enhancement of the NSTC methodology published in 2018 (https://doi.org/ 10.3133/ofr20181021) and used to develop the 2018 list of critical minerals. The 2021 quantitative evaluation uses (A) a net import reliance indicator of the dependence of the U.S. manufacturing sector on foreign supplies, (B) an enhanced production concentration indicator which focuses on production concentration outside of the United States, (C) weights for each producing country’s production contribution by its ability or willingness to continue to supply the United States, and converts the 2018 methodology’s qualitative evaluation of economic importance into a quantitative evaluation of economic vulnerability for the U.S. manufacturing sector. Further details on the underlying rationale and the specific approach, data sources, and assumptions used to calculate each component of the supply risk metrics are described in the references cited in this notice. Table 1 shows the result of the review of the list of critical minerals for 2021, ranked in order of decreasing supply chain risk when a quantitative evaluation was possible. The table columns indicate whether each mineral commodity recommended for inclusion on the 2021 draft list of critical minerals, the basis for the recommendation (quantitative evaluation, single point of failure, or qualitative evaluation), whether the commodity was included in on the 2018 final list of critical minerals, and whether it is produced primarily as a byproduct of another mineral commodity. Of the sixty-six mineral commodities listed in Table 1, fifty-four (82% of the minerals considered) could be evaluated using the quantitative NSTC methodology. This includes mineral commodities that are recommended for inclusion on the list based on a single point of supply chain failure, as applicable, even if the commodity did not meet the quantitative threshold cutoff. See methodology references for further details. jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 TABLE 1—SUMMARY OF EVALUATION OF MINERAL COMMODITIES FOR THE 2021 LIST OF CRITICAL MINERALS Highest to lowest supply chain risk, based on quantitative evaluation 5 Mineral commodity Included on draft 2021 list of critical minerals? Basis for recommended inclusion On 2018 list of critical minerals? 1 ................................. 2 ................................. 3 ................................. 4 ................................. 5 ................................. 6 ................................. 7 ................................. 8 ................................. 9 ................................. 10 ............................... 11 ............................... 12 ............................... 13 ............................... 14 ............................... 15 ............................... 16 ............................... 17 ............................... 18 ............................... 19 ............................... 20 ............................... 21 ............................... 22 ............................... 23 ............................... 24 ............................... 25 ............................... 26 ............................... 27 ............................... 28 ............................... 29 ............................... 30 ............................... 31 ............................... 32 ............................... 33 ............................... 34 ............................... 35 ............................... 36 ............................... 37 ............................... 38 ............................... 39 ............................... 40 ............................... 41 ............................... 42 ............................... 43 ............................... 44 ............................... 45 ............................... 46 ............................... Gallium ........................... Niobium .......................... Cobalt ............................. Neodymium .................... Ruthenium ...................... Rhodium ......................... Dysprosium ..................... Aluminum ........................ Fluorspar ........................ Platinum .......................... Iridium ............................. Praseodymium ................ Cerium ............................ Lanthanum ...................... Bismuth ........................... Yttrium ............................ Antimony ......................... Tantalum ......................... Hafnium .......................... Tungsten ......................... Vanadium ....................... Tin ................................... Magnesium ..................... Germanium ..................... Palladium ........................ Titanium .......................... Zinc ................................. Graphite .......................... Chromium ....................... Arsenic ............................ Barite .............................. Indium ............................. Samarium ....................... Manganese ..................... Lithium ............................ Tellurium ......................... Lead ................................ Potash ............................ Strontium ........................ Rhenium ......................... Nickel .............................. Copper ............................ Beryllium ......................... Feldspar .......................... Phosphate ...................... Silver ............................... Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. No ............................... No ............................... No ............................... No ............................... Yes ............................. No ............................... Yes ............................. No ............................... No ............................... No ............................... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Quantitative evaluation ... Not applicable ................. Not applicable ................. Not applicable ................. Not applicable ................. Single point of failure ..... Not applicable ................. Single point of failure ..... Not applicable ................. Not applicable ................. Not applicable ................. Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... No ..................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... No ..................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... No ..................... No ..................... Yes ................... No ..................... No ..................... No ..................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:00 Nov 08, 2021 Jkt 256001 PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\09NON1.SGM 09NON1 Predominantly recovered as byproduct? 6 Yes. No. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. No. No. No. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. No. Yes. No. Yes. No. No. Yes. Yes. No. No. No. No. Yes. No. Yes. Yes. No. No. Yes. No. No. No. Yes. No. No. No. No. No. Yes. 62202 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 214 / Tuesday, November 9, 2021 / Notices TABLE 1—SUMMARY OF EVALUATION OF MINERAL COMMODITIES FOR THE 2021 LIST OF CRITICAL MINERALS—Continued Highest to lowest supply chain risk, based on quantitative evaluation 5 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 (7) (8) (8) (8) (8) (8) (8) (8) (8) (8) (8) (8) ............................... ............................... ............................... ............................... ............................... ............................... ............................... ............................... ............................... ............................... ............................... ............................... ............................... ............................... ............................... ............................... ............................... ............................... ............................... ............................... Mineral commodity Included on draft 2021 list of critical minerals? Basis for recommended inclusion On 2018 list of critical minerals? Mica ................................ Selenium ......................... Cadmium ........................ Zirconium ........................ Molybdenum ................... Gold ................................ Helium ............................ Iron ore ........................... Cesium ........................... Erbium ............................ Europium ........................ Gadolinium ..................... Holmium ......................... Lutetium .......................... Rubidium ........................ Scandium ........................ Terbium .......................... Thulium ........................... Uranium .......................... Ytterbium ........................ No ............................... No ............................... No ............................... Yes ............................. No ............................... No ............................... No ............................... No ............................... Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Not evaluated ............. Yes ............................. Not applicable ................. Not applicable ................. Not applicable ................. Single point of failure ..... Not applicable ................. Not applicable ................. Not applicable ................. Not applicable ................. Qualitative evaluation ..... Qualitative evaluation ..... Qualitative evaluation ..... Qualitative evaluation ..... Qualitative evaluation ..... Qualitative evaluation ..... Qualitative evaluation ..... Qualitative evaluation ..... Qualitative evaluation ..... Qualitative evaluation ..... Not applicable ................. Qualitative evaluation ..... No ..................... No ..................... No ..................... Yes ................... No ..................... No ..................... Yes ................... No ..................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 Table 1 includes 11 mineral commodities that are not recommended for inclusion on the 2021 list of critical minerals. These mineral commodities did not meet the NSTC quantitative evaluation criteria, were determined not to have a single point of failure and were not included on the 2018 list of critical minerals. These eleven commodities (17% of the minerals evaluated) are: Lead, copper, feldspar, phosphate, silver, mica, selenium, cadmium, molybdenum, gold, and iron ore, ranked in order of their overall supply chain risk. While several of these are essential mineral commodities, their supply chain vulnerability is mitigated by domestic production, lack of import 5 Ranked in order from highest to lowest risk based on a recency-weighted mean of the commodities’ overall supply risk scores. See the published methodology (https://doi.org/10.3133/ ofr20211045) for further details. 6 Most mineral commodities are recovered as byproducts to some degree, but the share of primary production as a byproduct for the mineral commodities that are not identified as byproducts in the table is typically small. Rare earth elements (REEs) are mined both as byproducts of other mineral commodities (for example, iron ore or heavy-mineral sands) and as the main product. Where REEs are mined as the main product, the individual REEs are either byproducts or coproducts of each other. For simplicity, all REEs are labeled in the table as having been produced mostly as byproducts. Byproduct status can and does change, although notable changes over short periods of time are rare. 7 Commodities that were not evaluated using the quantitative evaluation are not given a rank and are ordered alphabetically. 8 USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries 2021 https://pubs.usgs.gov/periodicals/mcs2021/ mcs2021.pdf. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:00 Nov 08, 2021 Jkt 256001 dependence, and diverse, secure sources of supply. Mineral commodities that did not meet the criteria for the NSTC quantitative evaluation, but that have an identified single point of supply chain failure and an essential economic function, are recommended for inclusion on the 2021 list of critical minerals regardless of whether the commodities in question were on the 2018 list. Examples are beryllium and zirconium, which were on the 2018 list, and nickel, which was not. Increasing demand for nickel as a component for producing cathodes for lithium-ion batteries, and the limited mining, smelting, and refinery capacity in the United States make a compelling case for inclusion. Zinc, which was not on the 2018 list of critical minerals, was above the quantitative threshold for inclusion on the 2021 draft list of critical minerals due to the increasing concentration of mine and smelter capacities globally and the continued refinement and development of the quantitative evaluation criteria. Potash, rhenium, and strontium were on the 2018 list of critical minerals but do not meet the quantitative threshold and do not have a single point of failure. Potash, strontium, and rhenium have supply risk scores just below the quantitative threshold. This highlights the fact that the metrics developed with this methodology are best viewed as a continuum of supply risk rather than an as indication that supply risk does not exist for commodities below the PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Predominantly recovered as byproduct? 6 No. Yes. Yes. Yes. No. No. Yes. No. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. No. Yes. quantitative cutoff. These three commodities all had very high trade exposure but low disruption potential. This reflects the fact that, while the United States was highly net import reliant for all three commodities, the production of these minerals was either not highly concentrated or was concentrated in countries considered to be reliable trade partners. Any changes in the supply chain dynamics of these commodities will be closely monitored, but none of the three is recommended for inclusion on the 2021 draft list of critical minerals. Helium (like potash, rhenium, and strontium) was on the 2018 list of critical minerals but does not meet the quantitative threshold nor have a single point of failure. The United States is the world’s leading producer and a net exporter of helium. Helium’s trade exposure score was thus 0 and, in turn, its supply risk score was 0. Crude helium was produced in more than a dozen plants across several U.S. States, and several other plants produced grade-A Helium. Therefore, helium does not qualify for inclusion on the list based on the single point of failure criterion. Helium production outside the United States was concentrated in Qatar and Algeria. Both countries, as well as Canada, Russia, and Tanzania, are poised to increase their production as additional capacity becomes available in the near term. The Helium Stewardship Act of 2013-directed closure of the Federally managed helium reserve by the Bureau of Land Management has the potential to E:\FR\FM\09NON1.SGM 09NON1 jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 214 / Tuesday, November 9, 2021 / Notices increase uncertainty in the market. The global shift from conventional natural gas toward shale gas, which lacks recoverable quantities of helium, also has the potential to reduce the supply of helium, especially for the United States. While these factors make helium a commodity that bears watching, it is not recommended for inclusion on the 2021 draft list of critical minerals. There were insufficient data to quantitatively evaluate several commodities that were on the 2018 list of critical minerals: Cesium, rubidium, scandium, and several REEs (europium, gadolinium, terbium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, and lutetium). The United States has been completely net import reliant for all these commodities for many years.8 No specific global production data were available for these commodities; however, general information suggests that production for each of these commodities is highly concentrated in a few countries. Scandium was produced mainly as a byproduct in China, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Russia, and Ukraine. Cesium and rubidium had been produced in Australia, Canada, China, Namibia, and Zimbabwe; however, it is thought that all cesium and rubidium mine production outside of China has either ceased in recent years or come under control of Chinese companies. The REEs that were not analyzed because of the lack of data (namely europium, gadolinium, terbium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, and lutetium) were all heavy REEs that were produced only or predominantly in China. Based on this qualitative evaluation, none of these commodities are recommended for removal from the list of critical minerals. Mineral criticality is not static, but changes over time. This analysis represents the most recent available data for non-fuel mineral commodities and the current state of the methodology for evaluation of criticality. Please submit written comments on this draft list by December 9, 2021 to facilitate consideration. In particular, the U.S. Geological Survey is interested in comments addressing the following topics: The make-up of the draft list and the rationale associated with potential additions or subtractions to the draft list. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personally identifiable information (PII) in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment, including your PII, may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your PII from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:00 Nov 08, 2021 Jkt 256001 Authority: E.O. 13817, 82 FR 60835 (December 26, 2017) and The Energy Act of 2020, Section 7002 of Title VII (December 27, 2020). Dated: November 4, 2021. James D. Applegate, Associate Director for Natural Hazards, Exercising the Delegated Authority of the Director, U.S. Geological Survey. [FR Doc. 2021–24488 Filed 11–8–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4334–63–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS–WASO–CR–NAGPRA–NPS0031736; PPWOCRADN0–PCU00RP14.R50000 (211); OMB Control Number 1024–0144] Agency Information Collection Activities; Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Regulations National Park Service, Interior. Notice of information collection; request for comment. AGENCY: ACTION: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we, the National Park Service (NPS) are proposing to renew an information collection. SUMMARY: Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before January 10, 2022. ADDRESSES: Send your comments on this information collection request (ICR) to Phadrea Ponds, NPS Information Collection Clearance Officer by email to phadrea_ponds@nps.gov. Please reference OMB Control Number 1024– 0144 in the subject line of your comments. DATES: To request additional information about this ICR, contact Melanie O’Brien, Manager, National NAGPRA Program by email at melanie_o’brien@nps.gov, or by telephone at (202) 354–2204. Individuals who are hearing or speech impaired may call the Federal Relay Service at 1–800–877–8339 for TTY assistance. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) and 5 CFR 1320.8(d)(1), all information collections require approval under the PRA. We may not conduct or sponsor and you are not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. As part of our continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 62203 burdens, we invite the public and other Federal agencies to comment on new, proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps us assess the impact of our information collection requirements and minimize the public’s reporting burden. It also helps the public understand our information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format. 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[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 214 (Tuesday, November 9, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 62199-62203]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-24488]


=======================================================================
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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Geological Survey

[GX22GS00EMMA900]


2021 Draft List of Critical Minerals

AGENCY: U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior.

ACTION: Notice of opportunity for public comment.

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SUMMARY: The United States remains heavily dependent on imports of 
certain mineral commodities that are vital to the Nation's economic and 
national security interests. This dependency has the potential to 
create strategic vulnerabilities arising from adverse foreign actions, 
pandemics, natural disasters, or other events that can disrupt the 
supply of critical minerals. The Department of the Interior (DOI)

[[Page 62200]]

published a list of 35 critical minerals \1\ or mineral groups on May 
18, 2018, in response to Executive Order 13817--A Federal Strategy to 
Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals.
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    \1\ Final Critical Minerals List 2018 https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/05/18/2018-10667/final-list-of-critical-minerals-2018.

DATES: To ensure consideration, written comments must be submitted 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
before December 9, 2021.

ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments online at https://www.regulations.gov by entering ``DOI-2021-xxxx'' in the Search bar and 
clicking ``Search,'' or by mail to Draft List of Critical Minerals, MS-
102, U.S. Geological Survey, 12201 Sunrise Valley Dr., Reston, VA 
20192.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: James Mosley, (703) 648-6312, 
[email protected]. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the 
deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339 
to contact Mr. Mosley during normal business hours. The FRS is 
available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question 
with this individual. You will receive a reply during normal business 
hours. Normal business hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through 
Friday, except for Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to Section 7002 (``Mineral 
Security'') of Title VII (``Critical Minerals'') of the Energy Act of 
2020 (The Energy Act) (Pub. L. 116-260, December 27, 2020, 116th 
Cong.),\2\ the Secretary of the Interior (The Secretary), acting 
through the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey, and in consultation 
with the Secretaries of Defense, Commerce, Agriculture, and Energy and 
the United States Trade Representative, is to ``publish in the Federal 
Register for public comment--(A) a description of the draft methodology 
used to identify a draft list of critical minerals; (B) a draft list of 
minerals, elements, substances, and materials that qualify as critical 
minerals; and (C) a draft list of critical minerals recovered as 
byproducts and their host minerals.'' Under the Energy Act, Sec. 7002 
(c)(5)(A) the methodology and list shall be reviewed at least every 3 
years.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ Energy Act of 2020 (Division Z of the Consolidated 
Appropriations Act, 2021): https://rules.house.gov/sites/democrats.rules.house.gov/files/BILLS-116HR133SA-RCP-116-68.pdf.
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    On behalf of the Secretary, the Associate Director for Natural 
Hazards exercising the authority of the Director of the U.S. Geological 
Survey presents here a draft list of 50 mineral commodities proposed 
for inclusion on the 2021 list of critical minerals: Aluminum, 
antimony, arsenic, barite, beryllium, bismuth, cerium, cesium, 
chromium, cobalt, dysprosium, erbium, europium, fluorspar, gadolinium, 
gallium, germanium, graphite, hafnium, holmium, indium, iridium, 
lanthanum, lithium, lutetium, magnesium, manganese, neodymium, nickel, 
niobium, palladium, platinum, praseodymium, rhodium, rubidium, 
ruthenium, samarium, scandium, tantalum, tellurium, terbium, thulium, 
tin, titanium, tungsten, vanadium, ytterbium, yttrium, zinc, and 
zirconium.
    Much of the increase in the number of mineral commodities, from 35 
commodities and groups on the final 2018 list to 50 commodities on the 
2021 draft list, is the result of splitting the rare earth elements and 
platinum group elements into individual entries rather than including 
them as mineral groups. In addition, the 2021 draft list adds nickel 
and zinc and removes helium, potash, rhenium, and strontium. The Energy 
Act of 2020 explicitly excluded fuel minerals from the definition of a 
critical mineral and the Mining and Mineral Policy Act of 1970 \3\ 
formally defined uranium as a mineral fuel, so uranium was not 
evaluated for inclusion on the 2021 draft list of critical minerals.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ Mining and Minerals Policy Act of 1970 https://openei.org/wiki/Mining_and_Minerals_Policy_Act_of_1970.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Minerals were included on the 2021 draft list of critical minerals 
based on three evaluations: (1) A quantitative evaluation wherever 
sufficient data were available, (2) a semi-quantitative evaluation of 
whether the supply chain had a single point of failure, and (3) a 
qualitative evaluation when other evaluations were not possible. The 
report \4\ describing the methodology and the technical input from the 
U.S. Geological Survey may be found at the following link: https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20211045 and further details are summarized in the 
supplementary information section below. The U.S. Geological Survey 
seeks comments on the make-up of the draft list and the rationale 
associated with potential additions or subtractions to the draft list 
as described in the methodology report.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ Nassar, N.T., and Fortier, S.M., 2021, Methodology and 
technical input for the 2021 review and revision of the U.S. 
Critical Minerals List: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 
2021-1045, 31 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20211045.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Energy Act of 2020, Section 7002(c)(4)(A), defined critical 
minerals as those which:
    (i) ``are essential to the economic or national security of the 
United States;
    (ii) the supply chain of which is vulnerable to disruption 
(including restrictions associated with foreign political risk, abrupt 
demand growth, military conflict, violent unrest, anti-competitive or 
protectionist behaviors, and other risks through-out the supply chain); 
and
    (iii) serve an essential function in the manufacturing of a product 
(including energy technology-, defense-, currency-, agriculture-, 
consumer electronics-, and healthcare-related applications), the 
absence of which would have significant consequences for the economic 
or national security of the United States.''
    Section 7002(a)(3)(B) further defined the term by stating that 
``The term ``critical mineral'' does not include--
    (i) fuel minerals;
    (ii) water, ice, or snow;
    (iii) common varieties of sand, gravel, stone, pumice, cinders, and 
clay.''
    The Mining and Minerals Policy Act of 1970, 30 U.S.C. 21(a), 
defined ``mineral fuels'' as ``including oil, gas, coal, oil shale and 
uranium''. Based on these definitions, uranium was not evaluated for 
inclusion on the 2021 draft list of critical minerals.
    The U.S. Government and other organizations may also use other 
definitions and rely on other criteria to identify a material or 
mineral as ``critical'' or otherwise important. This list is not 
intended to replace related terms and definitions of materials that are 
deemed strategic, critical or otherwise important (such as definitions 
related to the National Defense Stockpile, Specialty Materials, and 
Militarily Critical Materials). In addition, there are many minerals 
not listed on the critical minerals list that are important to the U.S. 
economy. These materials are not considered critical as defined by the 
Energy Act because the U.S. largely meets its needs for these through 
domestic mining and processing and thus a supply disruption is 
considered unlikely.
    The 2021 draft list of critical minerals is based on a methodology 
developed over several years with leadership by the U.S. Geological 
Survey and interagency input coordinated by the White House Office of 
Science and Technology Policy's National Science and Technology Council 
(NSTC) Critical Minerals Subcommittee. The 2021 update to the 
methodology was published by the U.S. Geological Survey in 2021 
(https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20211045) and includes three evaluations: 
(1) A quantitative evaluation wherever sufficient data were available, 
(2) a semi-quantitative evaluation of whether the supply chain

[[Page 62201]]

had a single point of failure, and (3) a qualitative evaluation when 
other evaluations were not possible. The quantitative evaluation is an 
enhancement of the NSTC methodology published in 2018 (https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181021) and used to develop the 2018 list of critical 
minerals. The 2021 quantitative evaluation uses (A) a net import 
reliance indicator of the dependence of the U.S. manufacturing sector 
on foreign supplies, (B) an enhanced production concentration indicator 
which focuses on production concentration outside of the United States, 
(C) weights for each producing country's production contribution by its 
ability or willingness to continue to supply the United States, and 
converts the 2018 methodology's qualitative evaluation of economic 
importance into a quantitative evaluation of economic vulnerability for 
the U.S. manufacturing sector. Further details on the underlying 
rationale and the specific approach, data sources, and assumptions used 
to calculate each component of the supply risk metrics are described in 
the references cited in this notice.
    Table 1 shows the result of the review of the list of critical 
minerals for 2021, ranked in order of decreasing supply chain risk when 
a quantitative evaluation was possible. The table columns indicate 
whether each mineral commodity recommended for inclusion on the 2021 
draft list of critical minerals, the basis for the recommendation 
(quantitative evaluation, single point of failure, or qualitative 
evaluation), whether the commodity was included in on the 2018 final 
list of critical minerals, and whether it is produced primarily as a 
byproduct of another mineral commodity. Of the sixty-six mineral 
commodities listed in Table 1, fifty-four (82% of the minerals 
considered) could be evaluated using the quantitative NSTC methodology. 
This includes mineral commodities that are recommended for inclusion on 
the list based on a single point of supply chain failure, as 
applicable, even if the commodity did not meet the quantitative 
threshold cutoff. See methodology references for further details.

                              Table 1--Summary of Evaluation of Mineral Commodities for the 2021 List of Critical Minerals
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
   Highest to lowest supply                                                            Basis for
     chain risk, based on       Mineral commodity  Included on draft 2021 list of     recommended         On 2018 list of     Predominantly recovered as
 quantitative evaluation \5\                             critical minerals?            inclusion        critical minerals?          byproduct? \6\
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1............................  Gallium...........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
2............................  Niobium...........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  No.
                                                                                    evaluation.
3............................  Cobalt............  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
4............................  Neodymium.........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
5............................  Ruthenium.........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
6............................  Rhodium...........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
7............................  Dysprosium........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
8............................  Aluminum..........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  No.
                                                                                    evaluation.
9............................  Fluorspar.........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  No.
                                                                                    evaluation.
10...........................  Platinum..........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  No.
                                                                                    evaluation.
11...........................  Iridium...........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
12...........................  Praseodymium......  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
13...........................  Cerium............  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
14...........................  Lanthanum.........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
15...........................  Bismuth...........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
16...........................  Yttrium...........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
17...........................  Antimony..........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
18...........................  Tantalum..........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  No.
                                                                                    evaluation.
19...........................  Hafnium...........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
20...........................  Tungsten..........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  No.
                                                                                    evaluation.
21...........................  Vanadium..........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
22...........................  Tin...............  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  No.
                                                                                    evaluation.
23...........................  Magnesium.........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  No.
                                                                                    evaluation.
24...........................  Germanium.........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
25...........................  Palladium.........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
26...........................  Titanium..........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  No.
                                                                                    evaluation.
27...........................  Zinc..............  Yes...........................  Quantitative       No....................  No.
                                                                                    evaluation.
28...........................  Graphite..........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  No.
                                                                                    evaluation.
29...........................  Chromium..........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  No.
                                                                                    evaluation.
30...........................  Arsenic...........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
31...........................  Barite............  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  No.
                                                                                    evaluation.
32...........................  Indium............  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
33...........................  Samarium..........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
34...........................  Manganese.........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  No.
                                                                                    evaluation.
35...........................  Lithium...........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  No.
                                                                                    evaluation.
36...........................  Tellurium.........  Yes...........................  Quantitative       Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
37...........................  Lead..............  No............................  Not applicable...  No....................  No.
38...........................  Potash............  No............................  Not applicable...  Yes...................  No.
39...........................  Strontium.........  No............................  Not applicable...  Yes...................  No.
40...........................  Rhenium...........  No............................  Not applicable...  Yes...................  Yes.
41...........................  Nickel............  Yes...........................  Single point of    No....................  No.
                                                                                    failure.
42...........................  Copper............  No............................  Not applicable...  No....................  No.
43...........................  Beryllium.........  Yes...........................  Single point of    Yes...................  No.
                                                                                    failure.
44...........................  Feldspar..........  No............................  Not applicable...  No....................  No.
45...........................  Phosphate.........  No............................  Not applicable...  No....................  No.
46...........................  Silver............  No............................  Not applicable...  No....................  Yes.

[[Page 62202]]

 
47...........................  Mica..............  No............................  Not applicable...  No....................  No.
48...........................  Selenium..........  No............................  Not applicable...  No....................  Yes.
49...........................  Cadmium...........  No............................  Not applicable...  No....................  Yes.
50...........................  Zirconium.........  Yes...........................  Single point of    Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    failure.
51...........................  Molybdenum........  No............................  Not applicable...  No....................  No.
52...........................  Gold..............  No............................  Not applicable...  No....................  No.
53...........................  Helium............  No............................  Not applicable...  Yes...................  Yes.
54...........................  Iron ore..........  No............................  Not applicable...  No....................  No.
(\7\)........................  Cesium............  Yes...........................  Qualitative        Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
(\8\)........................  Erbium............  Yes...........................  Qualitative        Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
(\8\)........................  Europium..........  Yes...........................  Qualitative        Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
(\8\)........................  Gadolinium........  Yes...........................  Qualitative        Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
(\8\)........................  Holmium...........  Yes...........................  Qualitative        Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
(\8\)........................  Lutetium..........  Yes...........................  Qualitative        Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
(\8\)........................  Rubidium..........  Yes...........................  Qualitative        Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
(\8\)........................  Scandium..........  Yes...........................  Qualitative        Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
(\8\)........................  Terbium...........  Yes...........................  Qualitative        Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
(\8\)........................  Thulium...........  Yes...........................  Qualitative        Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
(\8\)........................  Uranium...........  Not evaluated.................  Not applicable...  Yes...................  No.
(\8\)........................  Ytterbium.........  Yes...........................  Qualitative        Yes...................  Yes.
                                                                                    evaluation.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Table 1 includes 11 mineral commodities that are not recommended 
for inclusion on the 2021 list of critical minerals. These mineral 
commodities did not meet the NSTC quantitative evaluation criteria, 
were determined not to have a single point of failure and were not 
included on the 2018 list of critical minerals. These eleven 
commodities (17% of the minerals evaluated) are: Lead, copper, 
feldspar, phosphate, silver, mica, selenium, cadmium, molybdenum, gold, 
and iron ore, ranked in order of their overall supply chain risk. While 
several of these are essential mineral commodities, their supply chain 
vulnerability is mitigated by domestic production, lack of import 
dependence, and diverse, secure sources of supply.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ Ranked in order from highest to lowest risk based on a 
recency-weighted mean of the commodities' overall supply risk 
scores. See the published methodology (https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20211045) for further details.
    \6\ Most mineral commodities are recovered as byproducts to some 
degree, but the share of primary production as a byproduct for the 
mineral commodities that are not identified as byproducts in the 
table is typically small. Rare earth elements (REEs) are mined both 
as byproducts of other mineral commodities (for example, iron ore or 
heavy-mineral sands) and as the main product. Where REEs are mined 
as the main product, the individual REEs are either byproducts or 
coproducts of each other. For simplicity, all REEs are labeled in 
the table as having been produced mostly as byproducts. Byproduct 
status can and does change, although notable changes over short 
periods of time are rare.
    \7\ Commodities that were not evaluated using the quantitative 
evaluation are not given a rank and are ordered alphabetically.
    \8\ USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries 2021 https://pubs.usgs.gov/periodicals/mcs2021/mcs2021.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Mineral commodities that did not meet the criteria for the NSTC 
quantitative evaluation, but that have an identified single point of 
supply chain failure and an essential economic function, are 
recommended for inclusion on the 2021 list of critical minerals 
regardless of whether the commodities in question were on the 2018 
list. Examples are beryllium and zirconium, which were on the 2018 
list, and nickel, which was not. Increasing demand for nickel as a 
component for producing cathodes for lithium-ion batteries, and the 
limited mining, smelting, and refinery capacity in the United States 
make a compelling case for inclusion.
    Zinc, which was not on the 2018 list of critical minerals, was 
above the quantitative threshold for inclusion on the 2021 draft list 
of critical minerals due to the increasing concentration of mine and 
smelter capacities globally and the continued refinement and 
development of the quantitative evaluation criteria.
    Potash, rhenium, and strontium were on the 2018 list of critical 
minerals but do not meet the quantitative threshold and do not have a 
single point of failure. Potash, strontium, and rhenium have supply 
risk scores just below the quantitative threshold. This highlights the 
fact that the metrics developed with this methodology are best viewed 
as a continuum of supply risk rather than an as indication that supply 
risk does not exist for commodities below the quantitative cutoff. 
These three commodities all had very high trade exposure but low 
disruption potential. This reflects the fact that, while the United 
States was highly net import reliant for all three commodities, the 
production of these minerals was either not highly concentrated or was 
concentrated in countries considered to be reliable trade partners. Any 
changes in the supply chain dynamics of these commodities will be 
closely monitored, but none of the three is recommended for inclusion 
on the 2021 draft list of critical minerals.
    Helium (like potash, rhenium, and strontium) was on the 2018 list 
of critical minerals but does not meet the quantitative threshold nor 
have a single point of failure. The United States is the world's 
leading producer and a net exporter of helium. Helium's trade exposure 
score was thus 0 and, in turn, its supply risk score was 0. Crude 
helium was produced in more than a dozen plants across several U.S. 
States, and several other plants produced grade-A Helium. Therefore, 
helium does not qualify for inclusion on the list based on the single 
point of failure criterion. Helium production outside the United States 
was concentrated in Qatar and Algeria. Both countries, as well as 
Canada, Russia, and Tanzania, are poised to increase their production 
as additional capacity becomes available in the near term. The Helium 
Stewardship Act of 2013-directed closure of the Federally managed 
helium reserve by the Bureau of Land Management has the potential to

[[Page 62203]]

increase uncertainty in the market. The global shift from conventional 
natural gas toward shale gas, which lacks recoverable quantities of 
helium, also has the potential to reduce the supply of helium, 
especially for the United States. While these factors make helium a 
commodity that bears watching, it is not recommended for inclusion on 
the 2021 draft list of critical minerals.
    There were insufficient data to quantitatively evaluate several 
commodities that were on the 2018 list of critical minerals: Cesium, 
rubidium, scandium, and several REEs (europium, gadolinium, terbium, 
holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, and lutetium). The United States 
has been completely net import reliant for all these commodities for 
many years.\8\ No specific global production data were available for 
these commodities; however, general information suggests that 
production for each of these commodities is highly concentrated in a 
few countries. Scandium was produced mainly as a byproduct in China, 
Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Russia, and Ukraine. Cesium and rubidium 
had been produced in Australia, Canada, China, Namibia, and Zimbabwe; 
however, it is thought that all cesium and rubidium mine production 
outside of China has either ceased in recent years or come under 
control of Chinese companies. The REEs that were not analyzed because 
of the lack of data (namely europium, gadolinium, terbium, holmium, 
erbium, thulium, ytterbium, and lutetium) were all heavy REEs that were 
produced only or predominantly in China. Based on this qualitative 
evaluation, none of these commodities are recommended for removal from 
the list of critical minerals.
    Mineral criticality is not static, but changes over time. This 
analysis represents the most recent available data for non-fuel mineral 
commodities and the current state of the methodology for evaluation of 
criticality.
    Please submit written comments on this draft list by December 9, 
2021 to facilitate consideration. In particular, the U.S. Geological 
Survey is interested in comments addressing the following topics: The 
make-up of the draft list and the rationale associated with potential 
additions or subtractions to the draft list. Before including your 
address, phone number, email address, or other personally identifiable 
information (PII) in your comment, you should be aware that your entire 
comment, including your PII, may be made publicly available at any 
time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your PII from 
public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
    Authority: E.O. 13817, 82 FR 60835 (December 26, 2017) and The 
Energy Act of 2020, Section 7002 of Title VII (December 27, 2020).

    Dated: November 4, 2021.
James D. Applegate,
Associate Director for Natural Hazards, Exercising the Delegated 
Authority of the Director, U.S. Geological Survey.
[FR Doc. 2021-24488 Filed 11-8-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4334-63-P