In 2018, the U.S. Geological Survey designated 35 non-fuel minerals or mineral groups as critical minerals and rare earth elements (critical minerals). Critical minerals are defined as those necessary for economic or national security and have a supply chain vulnerable to disruption. In 2020, Utah had known sources of 28 critical minerals and produced eight critical minerals including helium (used for MRIs, lift agents., and research), lithium (used to make rechargeable batteries), beryllium (used as an alloying agent in aerospace and defense industries), magnesium metal (used in furnace linings for manufacturing steel and ceramics), potash (fertilizer), rhenium (used for lead-free gasoline and super alloys), platinum (catalytic agent), and palladium (catalytic agent and it is used in fuel cells). Rhenium, platinum, and palladium are all produced as byproducts from the Bingham Canyon mine. Helium is produced at a gas plant in Lisbon Valley that purifies helium from natural gas streams.
On February 11, 2022, Governor Spencer Cox signed S.C.R. 3; a concurrent resolution highlighting Utah’s mineral position as it relates to critical minerals and rare earth elements.
One February 22, 2022, the U.S Geological Survey released the updated Critical Mineral list and removed uranium, potash, helium, strontium, and rhenium from the list while adding nickel and zinc. The list also highlights the primary purposes and importance of each critical mineral.