Amidst a slowly growing awareness of our critical mineral needs and the bureaucratic obstacles to harnessing our domestic mineral potential, U.S. Congressman Mark Amodei (NV-1) has introduced H.R. 4402, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2012.
As per the bill’s official title, it seeks to “require the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to more efficiently develop domestic sources of the minerals and mineral materials of strategic and critical importance to United States economic and national security and manufacturing competitiveness.”
According to Rep. Amodei, one of the key components of the legislation is a streamlining of the rigid and outdated permitting process, which has given the United States the dubious honor of being tied with Papua New Guinea for having the lengthiest process among leading mining nations.
The legislation is one of several bills having been introduced in the 112th Congress that would in one form or another address the challenges associated with securing ongoing access to strategic and critical minerals. For a comprehensive list of bills see the appendix of Valerie Bailey Grasso’s recent CRS Report to Congress entitled “Rare Earth Elements in National Defense: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress.”