Earlier this month, members of the Congressional Western Caucus sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, and Acting Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Mary Neumayr calling for the inclusion of additional metals and minerals into the draft critical minerals list released by Secretary Zinke earlier this spring.
The letter, endorsed by business representatives, elected officials and resource experts, specifically asks for the addition of aggregates, copper, molybendum, gold, zinc, nickel, lead, silver and certain fertilizer compounds to the list.
In the public statement on the letter, which ARPN joined as a signatory, Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Paul A. Gosar (AZ-04) commended the Administration for “opening up the critical mineral designation process and really listening to the input of experts, Congress, industry and members of the public in order to examine the economic and geopolitical ramifications of certain minerals being placed in or excluded from the ‘critical minerals’ list.”
He went on to say:
“ The good news is that for so many of the minerals which may be designated ‘critical’, we enjoy substantial reserves at home. There is no need for the United States to be import-reliant on adversaries and foes for these valuable materials. Today, we ask that those who are making decisions about ‘critical’ status make sure that obviously-critical minerals like copper, gold, molybdenum, zinc and others make the final list. Given the incredible domestic need for these minerals, it’s no exaggeration to say that the very security and stability of our country depend on the United States prioritizing permitting and development for our vast reserves right here in America.”
ARPN Principal Daniel McGroarty had previously submitted two sets of public comments relating to the draft critical minerals list – the first identifying a group of “gateway” metals critical for defense applications but absent from the DOI List, and the second articulating the gateway/co-product relationships between metals and minerals on the DOI List. The articulation exercise revealed four metals and minerals absent from the DOI List which are gateways to minerals that are on the list: Copper, Zinc, Nickel and Lead. Further information on the gateway/co-product relationships between metals and minerals can be found in ARPN’s latest report.
As the American Exploration & Mining Association correctly states, the Administration is “on the right track to recognize the importance of critical minerals in the American Economy. However, the time is ripe to complete the task and end our foreign dependence when we are ready to responsibly mine here at home. $9.2 Billion and 16,500 jobs are waiting to be unleashed benefiting rural economies.”