Science

Why is indium an important mineral? Govt. gives money for research

Why is indium an important mineral? Govt. gives money for research

The Utah Geological Survey has received federal money to conduct a three-year study of the state’s only identified source of the critical mineral — and it’s located just inside Utah’s Juab County.

The state agency will also use the money to research other critical minerals in that region.

India is important. It is used to make touchscreens, like the one on your cell phone, or windshields, like the ones in your car. For anyone who wants to install solar panels, it is a must. It also has other industrial applications.

“We are excited about the opportunity to study the unique geology of this deposit and learn more about why so many important critical mineral resources are concentrated here,” said Stephanie Mills, senior geologist with the Utah Geological Survey and principal investigator of the study.

How the study works: No indium was produced in the United States last year, and researchers believe the deposit in Utah is enough to meet all domestic demand for 10 years. Resources of zinc, an essential component for many metal alloys and considered a critical mineral, and copper, one of the most important commodities for electric vehicles and efficient energy grids, are also found in the Western Desert.

The Utah Geological Survey received $300,000 to partner with American West Metals, the mining company that owns the site. The study allows the state agency unimpeded access to the site for additional research and critical mineral mapping.

Utah’s Connection to Vital Minerals: According to the survey, American West is a mining company focused on developing resources with a low footprint to support the global energy transition.

Utah hosts a wide variety of rare earth elements and critical minerals and plays a key role in America’s domestic manufacturing.

The Minerals Education Coalition says that each born U.S. citizen will need more than 3.19 million pounds of minerals, metals and fuels in their lifetime, including 950 pounds of copper, 282,444 pounds of coal, and 2,692 pounds of aluminum.

While the Biden administration has an ambitious plan for the entire country transition to clean energythe need for more domestic production instead of relying on dominant foreign players — such as China — has led to a political dilemma as protesters abandon new or planned projects.

In January, President Joe Biden’s Department of the Interior canceled two leases for a copper mining project in Minnesota.

As the then presumptive Democratic candidate for the US presidency, Biden said in 2020 that he opposed any uranium mining around the Grand Canyon. But with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, his administration has stepped up efforts for more domestic uranium production, since nearly half of America’s supply comes from Russia and its allies.





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