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Tellurium Deposits in the United States

Metadata Updated: October 28, 2023

This data release provides the description of U.S. sites that include mineral regions, mines and mineral occurrences (deposits) that have a contained resource and (or) production of tellurium metal greater than 1 metric ton. For this data release, only one deposit in the U.S. with historic production records was found: Butte, Montana. We did not locate any deposits in the U.S. that list Te resources. Production facilities, such as the ASARCO LLC’s copper refinery in Amarillo, Texas are not included within this database. Tellurium is necessary for strategic, consumer, and commercial applications. The primary use for tellurium is for Cd-Te film solar cells. Other uses are as an alloying additive to steel to improve machining characteristics, as a minor additive in copper alloys to improve machinability without reducing conductivity, in lead alloys to improve resistance to vibration and fatigue, in cast iron to help control the depth of chill, and in malleable iron as a carbide stabilizer. Tellurium is used in the chemical industry as a vulcanizing agent and accelerator in the processing of rubber and as a component of catalysts for synthetic fiber production. In 2018, the U.S. had a net import reliance as a percentage of apparent consumption of more than 75 percent for tellurium (U.S. Geological Survey, 2019). Tellurium is primarily imported from Canada, China, and Germany so as to meet consumer demand. Because tellurium is a byproduct metal, production figures are seldom reported, and in the U.S. are only available in the public domain for the porphyry Cu deposit at Butte, Montana. Tellurium occurs in several deposit types in the U.S., such as in the porphyry Cu deposits in the western U.S. and Alaska; in epithermal deposits such as Cripple Creek in Colorado and Golden Sunlight in Montana; in orogenic gold deposits such as Kensington in Alaska; in volcanic hosted massive sulfide deposits such as those in Penokean Belt of Wisconsin and Michigan; and in magmatic Cu-Ni-platinum group element deposits such as Stillwater in Montana, and NorthMet in Minnesota, amongst others. From these sites there are no publicly available defined resources or production figures that would enable these sites to be included in this data release. Most tellurium occurs as Au, Ag, and platinum group telluride minerals; less is known about its distribution as a minor and trace element in sulfide minerals. Tellurium is principally recovered as a byproduct from the anode slimes generated during electrolytic copper refining; the main producers of Te in the U.S. are likely the porphyry Cu deposits of the western U.S. The entries and descriptions in the database were derived from published papers, reports, data, and internet documents representing a variety of sources, including geologic and exploration studies described in State, Federal, and industry reports. Inclusion of material in the database is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. The authors welcome additional published information in order to continually update and refine this dataset. U.S. Geological Survey, 2019, Mineral commodity summaries 2019: U.S. Geological Survey, 200 p.,

Access & Use Information

Public: This dataset is intended for public access and use. License: No license information was provided. If this work was prepared by an officer or employee of the United States government as part of that person's official duties it is considered a U.S. Government Work.

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Metadata Created Date June 1, 2023
Metadata Updated Date October 28, 2023

Metadata Source

Harvested from DOI EDI

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date June 1, 2023
Metadata Updated Date October 28, 2023
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Identifier USGS:5ce31c83e4b0f7ebfdfb8ea0
Data Last Modified 20200821
Category geospatial
Public Access Level public
Bureau Code 010:12
Metadata Context
Metadata Catalog ID
Schema Version
Catalog Describedby
Harvest Object Id f5568b11-4acd-470b-af51-8fd8ce5ba2fc
Harvest Source Id 52bfcc16-6e15-478f-809a-b1bc76f1aeda
Harvest Source Title DOI EDI
Metadata Type geospatial
Old Spatial -112.607629,45.960287,-112.438133,46.086497
Publisher Hierarchy White House > U.S. Department of the Interior > U.S. Geological Survey
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash adec794bbb9a8452b2fe0f560318a4cf11565c06438ef1266857f1fcb31dd0aa
Source Schema Version 1.1
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