Extension of Public Comment Period for the 2021 Draft List of Critical Minerals, 71083-71087 [2021-27001]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 14, 2021 / Notices jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 (2) At least four subpopulations, as identified under Criterion 1, meet or exceed abundance estimates of at least 500 Parachute beardtongue individuals over the same 10-year time period applied to Criterion 1, as described in greater detail in the draft recovery plan; (3) At least four subpopulations, as identified above under Criterion 1, have regulatory mechanisms or other conservation plans in place that reduce or ameliorate threats to the Parachute beardtongue associated with habitat loss and fragmentation, in perpetuity, such that Parachute beardtongue habitats in each of the four identified subpopulations are of sufficient quantity and quality to support the demographic thresholds identified under Criteria 1 and 2, as described in greater detail in the draft recovery plan; and (4) All four currently known viable subpopulations of Parachute beardtongue (Anvil Points, Logan Wash Mine and Natural Area, Mount Callahan Natural Area, and Mount Callahan Saddle Natural Area) are represented in at least one ex-situ (off-site) seed collection that is managed according to the Center for Plant Conservation guidelines (Guerrant et al. 2004). If and when new subpopulations are discovered, the ex-situ seed collection should be updated to represent genetic diversity across the range of the species. Peer Review In accordance with our July 1, 1994, peer review policy (59 FR 34270; July 1, 1994); our August 22, 2016, Director’s Memo on the Peer Review Process; and the Office of Management and Budget’s December 16, 2004, Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review (revised June 2012), we solicited the expert opinions of at least three appropriate and independent specialists regarding scientific data and interpretations contained in our SSA report for Parachute beardtongue (Service 2020). Peer review of the SSA report was completed in June 2019, and we ensured that the opinions of peer reviewers were objective and unbiased by following the guidelines set forth in the Director’s Memo, which updates and clarifies Service policy on peer review (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2016). The purpose of such review is to ensure that our decisions are based on scientifically sound data, assumptions, and analysis. Accordingly, our final SSA report and recovery plan may differ from the draft documents. The results of this structured peer review process are posted on our website at https:// www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/science/ peerReview.php. We also submitted our SSA report to our Federal and State VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:24 Dec 13, 2021 Jkt 256001 partners for their scientific review. The SSA report is the scientific foundation for this draft recovery plan. Request for Public Comments This notice opens the public review and comment period for our draft recovery plan for the Parachute Beardtongue. Section 4(f) of the Act requires that we provide public notice and an opportunity for public review and comment during the development of recovery plans. All comments we receive by the date specified (see DATES) will be considered prior to approval of the recovery plan. Written comments and materials regarding the recovery plan should be sent via one of the means in the ADDRESSES section. We will consider all information we receive during the public comment period, and particularly look for comments that provide scientific rationale or factual background. The Service and other Federal agencies and partners will take these comments into consideration in the course of implementing an approved final recovery plan. We are specifically seeking comments and suggestions on the following questions: • Understanding that the time and cost presented in the draft recovery plan will be fine-tuned when localized recovery implementation strategies are developed, do you think that the estimated time and cost to recovery are realistic? Is the estimate reflective of the time and cost of actions that may have already been implemented by Federal, State, county, or other agencies? Please provide suggestions or methods for determining a more accurate estimation. • Do the draft recovery criteria provide clear direction to partners on what is needed to recover Parachute beardtongue? How could they be improved for clarity? • Are the draft recovery criteria both objective and measurable given the information available for Parachute beardtongue, now and into the future? Please provide suggestions. • Understanding that specific, detailed, and area-specific recovery actions will be developed in the RIS, do the draft recovery actions presented in the draft recovery plan generally cover the types of actions necessary to meet the recovery criteria? If not, what general actions are missing? Are any of the draft recovery actions unnecessary for achieving recovery? Have we prioritized the actions appropriately? Public Availability of Comments We will summarize and respond to the issues raised by the public in an appendix to the approved final recovery plan. Before including your address, PO 00000 Frm 00082 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 71083 phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. You may request at the top of your comment that we withhold this information from public review; however, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Authority The authority for this action is section 4(f) of the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(f). Anna Mun˜oz, Acting Deputy Regional Director, Lakewood, Colorado. [FR Doc. 2021–27014 Filed 12–13–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Geological Survey [GX22GS00EMMA900] Extension of Public Comment Period for the 2021 Draft List of Critical Minerals Geological Survey, Department of the Interior. ACTION: Notice of extension, reopening the public comment period. AGENCY: The U.S Geological Survey published a document in the Federal Register on November 9, 2021, that presented a description of the methodology used to identify a draft list of critical minerals; a draft list of minerals, elements, substances, and materials that qualify as critical minerals; 1 and a draft list of critical minerals recovered as byproducts and their host minerals. This notice announces a 32-day extension of the public comment period. DATES: The comment period for the notice published November 9, 2021, 86 FR 62201, is reopened. Comments will be received until January 10, 2022. ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments online at https:// www.regulations.gov by entering ‘‘DOI– 2021–0013’’ 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, SUMMARY: 1 Final Critical Minerals List 2018 https:// www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/05/18/ 2018-10667/ final-list-of-critical-minerals-2018. E:\FR\FM\14DEN1.SGM 14DEN1 jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 71084 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 14, 2021 / Notices 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 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 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 18:24 Dec 13, 2021 Jkt 256001 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; (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; 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 00083 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 (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 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 E:\FR\FM\14DEN1.SGM 14DEN1 71085 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 14, 2021 / Notices 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 ............................... 47 ............................... 48 ............................... 49 ............................... 50 ............................... 51 ............................... 52 ............................... 53 ............................... 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 ............................... Mica ................................ Selenium ......................... Cadmium ........................ Zirconium ........................ Molybdenum ................... Gold ................................ Helium ............................ 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 ............................... No ............................... No ............................... 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 ................. Not applicable ................. Not applicable ................. 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 ..................... No ..................... No ..................... No ..................... Yes ................... No ..................... No ..................... Yes ................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:24 Dec 13, 2021 Jkt 256001 PO 00000 Frm 00084 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\14DEN1.SGM 14DEN1 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. No. Yes. Yes. Yes. No. No. Yes. 71086 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 14, 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 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? Iron ore ........................... Cesium ........................... Erbium ............................ Europium ........................ Gadolinium ..................... Holmium ......................... Lutetium .......................... Rubidium ........................ Scandium ........................ Terbium .......................... Thulium ........................... Uranium .......................... Ytterbium ........................ No ............................... Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Yes ............................. Not evaluated ............. Yes ............................. 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 ..................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... Yes ................... jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 Table 1 5 6 7 8 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. 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 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 18:24 Dec 13, 2021 Jkt 256001 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 PO 00000 Frm 00085 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Predominantly recovered as byproduct? 6 No. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. No. Yes. 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 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 E:\FR\FM\14DEN1.SGM 14DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 14, 2021 / Notices jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 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 January 10, 2022, to facilitate consideration. We will still accept comments received in the gap period. 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: December 9, 2021. James D. Applegate, Associate Director for Natural Hazards, Exercising the Delegated Authority of the Director, U.S. Geological Survey. [FR Doc. 2021–27001 Filed 12–13–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4338–11–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:24 Dec 13, 2021 Jkt 256001 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [20X.LLAZC03000.L51050000. EA0000.LVRCA20SA090; AZ–SRP–030–15– 01] Notice of Temporary Closure and Temporary Restrictions of Selected Public Lands in La Paz County, AZ Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice of temporary closure and restrictions. AGENCY: As authorized under the provisions of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as amended, notice is hereby given that temporary closures and temporary restrictions of activities will be in effect on public lands administered by the Lake Havasu Field Office, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to minimize the risk of potential collisions with spectators and racers during the annual Best in the Desert (BITD) off-highway vehicle (OHV) race events, Parker 250 and Parker 425, authorized under a Special Recreation Permit (SRP). DATES: This notice is effective upon publication. The temporary restrictions for the Parker 250 take effect at 11:59 p.m., January 4, 2022, through 11:59 p.m., January 9, 2022. The temporary closure for the Parker 250 takes effect at 11:59 p.m., January 5, 2022, through 11:59 p.m., January 9, 2022. The temporary restrictions for the Parker 425 take effect at 11:59 p.m., January 18, 2022, through 11:59 p.m., January 23, 2022. The temporary closure for the Parker 425 takes effect at 11:59 p.m., January 19, 2022, through 11:59 p.m., January 23, 2022. All times are listed in local time. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jason West, Field Manager, BLM Lake Havasu Field Office, 1785 Kiowa Avenue, Lake Havasu City, Arizona 86403, telephone: (928) 505–1200; email: jrwest@blm.gov. Also see the Lake Havasu Field Office website: https://www.blm.gov/office/lakehavasu-field-office. Persons who use a telecommunications device for hearing impaired (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at (800) 877–8339 to contact Mr. West during normal business hours. FRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On January 6, 2015, the Decision Record authorizing the BITD Parker Races SRP was signed. This permit authorizes the SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00086 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 71087 BITD to utilize the Parker 400 course for the Parker 250 race event on January 6 through 9, 2022, and for the Parker 425 race event on January 20 through 23, 2022. The permit is authorized from 2015 through 2024. The Environmental Assessment analyzing these routes (EA #DOI–BLM–AZ–C030–2014–0040) concluded that allowing permitted motorized racers exclusive use of the Lake Havasu Field Office Record of Decision/Approved Resource Management Plan (2007) designated Parker 400 course would mitigate safety concerns. These routes receive the most intense and concentrated high-speed use during the two annual permitted events. These temporary closures and restrictions affect public lands in and around the Parker 400 course near the communities of Parker and Bouse in La Paz County, Arizona. The temporary closure applies to all public use, including pedestrian and vehicles, unless excepted. The temporary closure area follows the Parker 400 course as designated in the 2007 Lake Havasu Resource Management Plan. Within the temporary restriction area, the temporary restrictions apply in addition to all existing regulations. The temporary restriction area begins on public lands east of the eastern boundary of the Colorado River Indian Tribe (CRIT) Reservation, along Shea Road, then east into Osborne Wash onto the Parker-Swansea Road to the Central Arizona Project (CAP) Canal, then north on the west side of the CAP Canal, crossing the canal on the countymaintained road, running northeast into Mineral Wash Canyon, then southeast on the county-maintained road, through the four-corners intersection to the Midway (Pit) intersection, then east on Transmission Pass Road, through State Trust Land located in Butler Valley, turning north into Cunningham Wash to North Tank, continuing south to Transmission Pass Road and east (reentering public land) within two miles of Alamo Dam Road. The temporary restriction area boundary turns south and west onto the wooden power line road, onto the State Trust Land in Butler Valley, turning southwest into Cunningham Wash to the Graham Well, intersecting Butler Valley Road, then north and west on the county-maintained road to the ‘‘Bouse Y’’ intersection, two miles north of Bouse, Arizona. The temporary restriction area boundary proceeds north, paralleling the Bouse-Swansea Road to the Midway (Pit) intersection, then west along the north boundary (power line) road of the East Cactus Plain Wilderness Area to Parker- E:\FR\FM\14DEN1.SGM 14DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 237 (Tuesday, December 14, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 71083-71087]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-27001]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Geological Survey

[GX22GS00EMMA900]


Extension of Public Comment Period for the 2021 Draft List of 
Critical Minerals

AGENCY: Geological Survey, Department of the Interior.

ACTION: Notice of extension, reopening the public comment period.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The U.S Geological Survey published a document in the Federal 
Register on November 9, 2021, that presented a description of the 
methodology used to identify a draft list of critical minerals; a draft 
list of minerals, elements, substances, and materials that qualify as 
critical minerals; \1\ and a draft list of critical minerals recovered 
as byproducts and their host minerals. This notice announces a 32-day 
extension of the public comment period.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Final Critical Minerals List 2018 https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/05/18/2018-10667/ final-list-
of-critical-minerals-2018.

DATES: The comment period for the notice published November 9, 2021, 86 
FR 62201, is reopened. Comments will be received until January 10, 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
2022.

ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments online at https://www.regulations.gov by entering ``DOI- 2021-0013'' 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,

[[Page 71084]]

[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.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    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 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

[[Page 71085]]

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
 quantitative  evaluation \5\                            critical minerals?            inclusion        critical minerals?        as  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.
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.

[[Page 71086]]

 
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 5 6 7 8 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 
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

[[Page 71087]]

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 January 10, 
2022, to facilitate consideration. We will still accept comments 
received in the gap period. 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: December 9, 2021.
James D. Applegate,
Associate Director for Natural Hazards, Exercising the Delegated 
Authority of the Director, U.S. Geological Survey.
[FR Doc. 2021-27001 Filed 12-13-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4338-11-P