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Open-Source Intelligence Resources: The USGS 2022 List of Critical Minerals

Moody’s Analytics economist Tim Uy wrote in a recent report:  “The greatest risk facing global supply chains has shifted from the pandemic to the Russia-Ukraine military conflict and the geopolitical and economic uncertainties it has created.”  Our recent Warning for the U.S. Chip Industry: Russian Retaliation Could Hit Supply of Key Materials provided the following breakdown of the Russian and Ukraine-source material critical to the semiconductor manufacturing process:

  • Ukraine supplies over 90% of U.S. semiconductor-grade neon.  Neon is a critical material for the operation of the lasers used to manufacture chips.  Neon is a byproduct of Russian steel manufacturing.  It is then purified in Ukraine.
  • Russia provides 35% of U.S. Palladium, which is used in sensors and memory.
  • Other materials procured from the region include C4F6, Helium, and Scandium.

In February, The US Geological Survey released the 2022 List of Critical Minerals.  In a press release, Tanya Trujillo, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science, said:  “Critical minerals play a significant role in our national security, economy, renewable energy development, and infrastructure,” said  “USGS data collection and analysis scans the horizon for emerging issues in crucial supply chains, and every three years identifies the nation’s current vulnerabilities to potential disruptions.” (1)

Palladium and Scandium are included in the USGS list.  Neon and C4F6 are not listed, as they are elemental and compound gas, respectively. The fact that they are not included on the USGS list does not imply that they will not be impacted by supply chain disruptions.

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Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira is research director at OODA. He is a foresight strategist, creative technologist, and an information communication technology (ICT) and digital media researcher with 20+ years of experience directing public/private partnerships and strategic innovation initiatives.