The Illinois Basin Carbon Core, Rare Earth, and Critical Mineral Initiative (IB CORE-CM)

Jared Freiburg, Scott Elrick, Franck Delpomdor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


In the past decade, there has been an unprecedented increase in demand for critical minerals globally, with forecasts for future needs increasing significantly. The United States is near to completely reliant on imports of critical minerals, many from countries with unfavorable or unstable relationships with the US, and thus is unprepared for inevitable disruptions in the supply chain. In an effort to jumpstart the domestic critical mineral supply chain, the Department of Energy has funded the Illinois Basin Carbon Ore, Rare Earth, and Critical Mineral Initiative (IB CORE-CM). The IB-CORE CM will complete a basin wide assessment of critical mineral resources including the occurrence of strategic elements in coal, coal-based resources, and waste streams from coal use. Coal beds and coal mining by-products have been shown to have prospective and economic concentrations of rare earth elements (REE) and critical minerals (CM). In the Illinois Basin, REE and trace element associations in coal and associated strata are poorly documented. In the United States, approximately 11 million short tons of REEs, with a cutoff grade of 500 parts per million (ppm), have been estimated from recoverable coal reserves, including coal and associated clay. For recovery advancement of these strategic elements, IB CORE-CM will assess mining techniques and state-of-the-art separation and mineral extraction technologies. A major aim is to foster use of REE and CM by local economies and reduce U.S. dependence on REE and CM imports. A foundational Technology Innovation Center will be developed for public-private activities related to critical minerals, carbon-based products, CORE-CM education, economic growth, and environmental justice. The IB CORE-CM will be led by the Illinois State Geological Survey with partners from regional Universities, State Geological Surveys, private industry, and national laboratories.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGeological Society of America, North-Central Section, 56th annual meeting; Geological Society of America, Southeastern Section, 71st annual meeting
StatePublished - 2022


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