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Policy Makers Step Up Efforts to Secure Domestic Critical Mineral Supply Chains — U.S. Senators Introduce the “Critical Mineral Independence Act of 2022”

As geopolitical tensions continue to mount, and China tightens its reins on its critical mineral supply chains, U.S. policy makers are stepping up their efforts to secure domestic supply chains.

The latest case in point: Sen. Dan Sullivan’s (R-Alaska) and Mitt Romney’s (R-Utah) just-introduced Critical Mineral Independence Act of 2022,” legislation aimed at reducing the United States’ over-reliance on China for its critical mineral needs by strengthening provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which had previously given a boost to critical mineral mining and processing.

Operating under the premise that “the U.S. cannot afford to allow the critical minerals used by the Department of Defense (DoD) to be mined or processed in adversarial countries, and it must urgently invest and build its capabilities to achieve critical mineral independence in coordination with allies,” the bill would:

  • “[d]irect the expansion of critical mineral mining and processing in the U.S. and allied countries to achieve critical mineral supply chain independence for the Department of Defense by 2027;
  • [r]equire the director of the Defense Logistics Agency to develop a strategy to expedite critical mineral mining and processing, and then requires the implementation of that strategy;
  • [and a]uthorize the use of the underlying $1 billion in the NDAA to execute the procurement strategy.”

In a statement on the introduction of the bill, Sen. Sullivan highlighted the United States’ vast domestic mineral potential, much of which could be unleashed in the Senators home state of Alaska. He says:

“We cannot continue to be dependent on China for critical minerals—resources that are crucial to our economy, and which we have in abundance in the U.S., particularly in Alaska like the significant copper and zinc resources in the Ambler Mining District that the Biden administration—remarkably—continues to delay.”  

[To keep up with Alaska’s critical mineral potential and current developments, be sure to follow North of 60 Mining News’s Shane Lasley, whose work ARPN has featured on many occasions.]

Sen. Sullivan adds:

“If we are going to build out and support our domestic clean energy industries and national security initiatives, we need to get serious about a strategy for unleashing America’s national supply chains and processing capabilities. In doing so, we will create thousands of good-paying jobs, protect our national security interests, deny economic support for violators of basic human rights and build out America’s all-of-the-above energy sector.” 

With the mid-term elections now in the rear view mirror and policy makers increasingly realizing the urgency of securing critical mineral resource supply chains to bolster our nation’s national security and economic wellbeing, momentum for mineral resource policy reform is building.  ARPN will track the “Critical Mineral Independence Act of 2022” along with other legislative efforts in the coming months.