Strategic Metals Mining

Strategic metals mining typically refers to metals such as copper, nickel and precious metals including platinum, palladium and gold.

These metals are considered strategic based on their importance to our domestic economy, national security applications and the emerging green economy, while also facing increasing global demand and our country’s current reliance on imported supplies.

In 2016, the U.S. imported 670,000 metric tons of copper, 111,000 metric tons of nickel, and 117,000 kilograms of palladium and platinum.*

Copper, nickel and platinum group metals are essential to many industries, including power generation, electronics, aerospace, food processing, construction, automotive and healthcare.

*Source: United States Geological Survey, www.usgs.gov

Strategic Metals Uses

How much copper is in a...

400lbs

4.7 tons / 9400 lbs

Standard car = 42 lbs
Hybrid car = 75 lbs

16 grams

How is copper used?

  • 45% piping, wiring, tubing
  • 23% electronics
  • 12% vehicles

Places you will find nickel...

  • Standard car (9lbs)
  • Stainless steel (kitchen and hospital equipment)
  • Aircraft engine

How is nickel used?

  • 30% vehicles and aircrafts
  • 14% stainless steel
  • 12% electrical equipment

Timeline for gold (AU), global monetary unit

  • 54% jewelry
  • 10% dental
  • 7% electronics

Key producers of platinum and palladium

  1. South Africa
  2. Russia
  3. North America
  4. Zimbabwe

How is palladium/platinum used?

  • Catalytic converters in vehicles
  • Medical and dental instruments
  • Electronics