Nov 25, 2013

Strategic minerals

Strategic minerals are minerals essential to the national defense -- the supply of which a country uses but cannot produce itself. 33% to 50% of the 80 minerals used by industry could be classed as strategic minerals. Wealthy countries, such as the United States, stockpile these minerals to avoid any crippling effect on their economy or military strength if political circumstances were to cut off their supplies. The United States, for instance, stockpiles bauxite (14.5 million tons), manganese (2.2 million tons), chromium (1.8 million tons), tin (185,000 tons), cobalt (19,000 tons), tantalum (635 tons), palladium (1.25 million troy ounces), and platinum (453,000 troy ounces). (The Handy Science Answer Book, compiled by the Science and Technology department of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh)