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Scientific Investigations Report 2012–5188

Metal Prices in the United States Through 2010

By U.S. Geological Survey

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (1.79 MB)Abstract

This report, which updates and revises the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) (1999) publication, “Metal Prices in the United States Through 1998,” presents an extended price history for a wide range of metals available in a single document. Such information can be useful for the analysis of mineral commodity issues, as well as for other purposes. The chapter for each mineral commodity includes a graph of annual current and constant dollar prices for 1970 through 2010, where available; a list of significant events that affected prices; a brief discussion of the metal and its history; and one or more tables that list current dollar prices.

In some cases, the metal prices presented herein are for some alternative form of an element or, instead of a price, a value, such as the value for an import as appraised by the U.S. Customs Service. Also included are the prices for steel, steel scrap, and iron ore—steel because of its importance to the elements used to alloy with it, and steel scrap and iron ore because of their use in steelmaking. A few minor metals, such as calcium, potassium, sodium, strontium, and thorium, for which price histories were insufficient, were excluded.

The annual prices given may be averages for the year, yearend prices, or some other price as appropriate for a particular commodity. Certain trade journals have been the source of much of this price information—American Metal Market, ICIS Chemical Business, Engineering and Mining Journal, Industrial Minerals, Metal Bulletin, Mining Journal, Platts Metals Week, Roskill Information Services Ltd. commodity reports, and Ryan’s Notes. Price information also is available in minerals information publications of the USGS (1880–1925, 1996–present) and the U.S. Bureau of Mines (1926–95), such as Mineral Commodity Summaries, Mineral Facts and Problems, Mineral Industry Surveys, and Minerals Yearbook. In addition to prices themselves, these journals and publications contain information relevant to prices, which has been helpful in the preparation of this publication.

Prices in this report have been graphed in 1992 constant dollars to show the effects of inflation as measured by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, a widely used measure of overall inflation in the United States. These prices are not tabulated, but a table of the deflators used is given in an appendix. Constant dollar prices can be used to show how prices that producers receive would have less purchasing power.

First posted March 5, 2013

For additional information contact:

Chief, Mineral Commodities Section
National Minerals Information Center
U.S. Geological Survey
989 National Center
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, VA 20192

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

U.S. Geological Survey, 2013, Metal prices in the United States through 2010: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2012–5188, 204 p., available only at


Introduction and Acknowledgments

Aluminum (Al)

Antimony (Sb)

Arsenic (As)

Beryllium (Be)

Bismuth (Bi)

Cadmium (Cd)

Cesium (Cs)

Chromium (Cr)

Cobalt (Co)

Copper (Cu)

Gallium (Ga)

Germanium (Ge)

Gold (Au)

Hafnium (Hf)

Indium (In)

Iron and Steel (Fe)

Iron and Steel Scrap (Fe)

Iron Ore (Fe)

Lead (Pb)

Lithium (Li)

Magnesium (Mg)

Manganese (Mn)

Mercury (Hg)

Molybdenum (Mo)

Nickel (Ni)

Niobium (Columbium) (Nb)

Platinum-Group Metals (Ir, Os, Pd, Pt, Rh, Ru)

Rare-Earth Metals (Ce, Dy, Eu, Gd, La, Nd, Pr, Sm, Sc, Tb, Y)

Rhenium (Re)

Rubidium (Rb)

Selenium (Se)

Silver (Ag)

Tantalum (Ta)

Tellurium (Te)

Thallium (Tl)

Tin (Sn)

Titanium (Ti)

Tungsten (W)

Vanadium (V)

Zinc (Zn)

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