PSM Field Notes  4.5.12

If you thought the craze for mineral mining in the United States had fizzled out after the Gold Rush, it’s time to reconsider. Of course companies have continued to mine for relatively common mineral elements such as sand, gravel, sulfur, and salt, but now a new need for rare earth minerals has arisen globally. These contain elements needed for the production of smart phones, computers, and defense and green-energy technology. According to the USGS in 2010, the United States had 13-million metric tons of rare earth elements. Alaska, California, Colorado, and Wyoming have been mentioned in the press as having significant deposits of rare earth materials such as neodymium, germanium, indium, gallium, tellurium, and titanium.

Geospatial technology will be in demand as this new hunt takes shape. Initial prospecting often uses aerial multispectral and hyperspectral imaging to search for potential mineral sites. Then mining companies scout these target areas and locate places for test holes. Once suitable mining sites have been selected, surveyors will be needed for site surveys and construction surveys, including as-built surveys to achieve regulatory compliance. As mining begins, 3D scanning technology will bring efficiency and safety to the production process.

After a nationwide, 18-year moratorium on mineral surveys due to a legal misinterpretation, an Arizona surveyor conducted what may be the first of many mineral surveys in the United States. Jim Crume, one of the few active mineral surveyors in the country, recently completed the survey and has provided some background information on the mineral survey process and an overview of this project for PSM and Field Notes readers. The full article appears on our website. If you happen to be practicing in an area where these minerals are present, looking for a new market for potential business, or unaware that the situation had changed, this story may be of great interest to you.


Since 1969 Allen Instruments & Supplies has been dedicated to providing products and services that generate the greatest possible return on investment for our customers. We utilize our experience in the industry to seek and provide technologies that will add a competitive advantage to those who partner with us.

As an authorized distributor for Trimble and Spectra Precision, Allen Instruments operates sales and service facilities in Scottsdale, Arizona and Anaheim, California.

Allen Instruments sets itself apart from the competition with value-added services provided before and after the sale. In both fully stocked showrooms, Allen provides customers with a full range of supplies and accessories. Each location provides factory-trained and certified service technicians in state-of-the-art service facilities and maintains rental equipment for those customers with additional needs or interests in testing newer technologies. In addition, certified trainers and classes are also provided from each Allen location.

Well, Surveyor's Week passed without much fanfare again last month. Things seemed pretty quiet from the few folks I talked to, but if you had some type of event or activity to mark the week that you'd like to share, please let me know.
One group who had a successful event last year that we covered here was the Colorado Spatial Reference Network (CSRN)—and they're at it again this year. Although not scheduled to coincide with Surveyor's Week, the CSRN will be hosting their Annual GPS Day on May 12 this year. The gathering will be at Utah Park in Aurora, CO from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm. Folks from the CSRN and reps from several major manufacturers will be on hand to share their knowledge and expertise with adults and kids, alike. If you're anywhere in the area, I hope you're able to attend what looks to be another well planned, sizeable, educational event. And if you're looking at putting together an outreach effort of your own, I personally think this would be an excellent model to follow.

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