Managing Foreign Mineral Information Programs To Support Public Policy Analyses

EMD-81-32: Published: Dec 10, 1980. Publicly Released: Dec 10, 1980.

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Changes in global mineral supply and demand conditions can have direct and far-reaching implications for U.S. economic stability and strategic capabilities. In spite of highly visible concern in the executive branch and Congress about U.S. foreign mineral information capabilities and numerous initiatives that have expanded Federal data collection and analysis capabilities, there continues to be no strategy for matching extensive information capabilities with public policy mineral information throughout the executive branch. For many mineral commodities critical to economic stability and strategic capabilities, the United States is increasingly dependent on foreign sources of supply. It is important to know about supply and demand of mineral sources from abroad, foreign reserves, and conditions that could result in supply interruptions.

Federal foreign mineral information capabilities fall short of public policy, decisionmaking, and overall resource management objectives because: (1) the Department of the Interior's foreign mineral data collection, analysis, and dissemination activities are principally responsive to individual office mandates rather than to the entire executive branch; (2) responsible policy planning, decisionmaking, and resource managers in the Federal Government have minimal contact with the various Government collection, analysis, and dissemination processes; (3) the wide selection of data available does not become part of a data pool, reducing its availability and effectiveness; (4) the use of foreign mineral data has been severely restricted due to the absence of a usable data management capability; and (5) commodity policy analysts throughout the executive branch contract for databases from a wide variety of sources outside the Federal establishment, creating a lack of communication between data collection and policy planning.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct centralization of responsibility of all foreign mineral and related information (not the collection function itself) within the Minerals Information and Analysis Directorate, U.S. Bureau of Mines.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  2. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct that the Minerals Information and Analysis Directorate structure the foreign mineral information system to be responsive to needs of all agencies for minerals and related information needs of all agencies and to incorporate ongoing data acquisition activities of other Federal agencies. The automated capability should also incorporate a new file on institutional factors--factors likely to affect production and investment climate (taxes, subsidies, energy constraints, political instability, and so forth) as a regular systematized component of foreign mineral reporting, to be modified as conditions warrant.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  3. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should initiate an in-depth analysis of all continuing foreign mineral data needs and resources throughout the executive branch, including capabilities and requirements of State Department Foreign Service reporting officers.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

 

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