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Member of ARPN Expert Panel Outlines Implications of Executive Order Targeting Critical Minerals

Amidst the latest political drama, bomb cyclones and button size comparisons which are dominating the news cycle, you may have missed two great pieces of analysis by member of the ARPN panel of experts Jeff Green, president and founder of Washington, DC-based J.A. Green & Company – so we are highlighting them for you:

In a piece for The Hill, Green provides context for and outlines the implications of Executive Order 13817, “A Federal Strategy To Ensure Secure and Reliable Supply of Critical Minerals,” which in Green’s words “fundamentally changes U.S. policy toward critical minerals and will assure the United States has access to these materials for use in every major defense system.”  

According to Green, the timing of the executive order is “telling about the results of a forthcoming industrial bases assessment,” which he believes has “elevated concerns in the West Wing over America’s increasing reliance on China and Russia for many of the raw inputs needed to produce fighter jets, engines, radar, missile defense systems, satellites, precision munitions, and other key technologies.”

In response to the executive order, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has already signed a secretarial order directing the initial steps to producing the first nationwide geological and topographical survey of the United States in modern history.

Green believes that domestic mining companies will be encouraged to invest, which in turn could result in new domestic mining projects coming online, providing well-paying jobs for the middle class and supporting downstream manufacturers and consumer goods.

Green also outlined his thoughts in this TV segment with ABC’s Government Matters:

The bottom line, according to Green is that

“[i]n the long run, it’s simply not practical for the United States to remain heavily dependent on overseas suppliers for dozens of key minerals. It leaves the nation vulnerable to disruptions from unfriendly sources. Congress and the administration should proceed with all deliberate haste to identify domestic sources of the metals and minerals needed for national defense – and ensure that America begins to extract more of its own vast troves of these resources. Otherwise, continuing a dependency on other countries poses troubling national security consequences.”

The next few months will be a critical (pun intended) time for U.S. mineral resource policy going forward.  The executive order provides a great opportunity for stakeholders to develop a comprehensive federal action plan that could make the U.S. stronger, safer and more competitive. Here’s hoping they seize it.