New Analysis Confirms Need for Critical Minerals

Covid-19 has underscored the need to monitor the security of minerals supply for a clean energy future

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Washington, May 7, 2020 | Ben Goldey | comments

Today, Members of the Western Caucus released the following statements after the International Energy Agency published a new analysis confirming the need for critical minerals:

"Now more than ever it is clear we cannot rely on countries like Russia and China for our supply of critical minerals. China has already threatened to withhold lifesaving materials, medication, and minerals from the United States, we shouldn't wait for that to become a reality. America is home to incredible natural resources and we know we can responsibly develop and process these minerals better than anyone in the world. Instead of importing these minerals from countries that hate us, let's mine them in America, using American workers and making America more independent," said Chairman Paul Gosar (AZ-04).

"The global pandemic has demonstrated significant supply chain weaknesses across all sectors of our economy, including energy security and innovation. The analysis released today underscores the importance of prioritizing domestic critical mineral development to ensure our national and economic security. Continued outsourcing of critical minerals’ production leaves American manufacturing, technology, clean energy, medicine, and other sectors crucial to modern life vulnerable to the actions of our adversaries. This is yet another reminder of the need for Congress to work on a bipartisan basis and enact policies to mitigate this threat and protect our citizens," said Chairman Emeritus Rob Bishop (UT-01).

"The COVID-19 pandemic is again reinforcing the importance of responsible, U.S. mineral development. During trade negotiations in June 2019, China threatened to cut-off our access to rare earth minerals. Now, the COVID-19 shines a bright light on China’s dominance of critical mineral and other supply chains. This report should serve as a reality check that supporting a true all-of-the-above energy future in the U.S. will require strong investments in domestic mining," said Executive Vice-Chairman Scott Tipton (CO-03).

"One of the most valuable takeaways from this pandemic is absolute need for the United States to strengthen our national and energy grid security. Bolstering domestic mineral mining and production will not only create American jobs to get our economy back up and running, but it will decrease our nation's dependence on foreign countries, which can be detrimental during times of global crisis. The United States can and will continue to lead the world on our path to a clean energy future with domestic mineral supplies and energy independence," said Vice-Chairman for Departments of Interior and Energy Dan Newhouse (WA-04).

"Even before a global pandemic hit, we knew the importance of increasing domestic production of critical minerals. We can’t continue relying on countries like China for materials that we can mine right here at home, especially when it becomes a national security risk. We can tap into our nation’s vast resources in sustainable, safe ways, and I hope analyses like these combat misconceptions about what domestic mineral production entails," said Vice-Chairman for Infrastructure and Forestry Bruce Westerman (AR-04).

"The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how critical the mineral mining industry is to the U.S. supply chain, providing the raw materials required to produce the essential medical devices, anti-microbial surfaces, and medicines vital during this crisis. I commend President Trump's leadership to end our dependency on foreign mineral imports and reform the mining permitting policies that are adversely affecting America’s ability to develop a strong domestic supply chain. The United States can no longer be at the mercy of foreign nations to supply the building blocks essential to our economy and national security," said Vice-Chairman for Defense and Veterans Affairs Doug Lamborn (CO-05).

"To secure a clean, independent future for America’s energy sector, we need to grow our domestic mineral production and processing. These jobs belong in the U.S.. We could avoid being held up by international mineral supply chains by using our own resources for mineral production. If the U.S. learned anything from the 1973 oil crisis, there’s no reason why we should be relying on potential adversaries for our minerals — like China — who do not share our national security interests," said Vice-Chairman for Agriculture and Business Doug LaMalfa (CA-01).

"The dire supply chain situation our country is in part due to a lack of extraction and processing of domestic critical minerals. This has been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic and confirmed by the nonpartisan International Energy Agency. Therefore, I introduced H.R. 6630, the Securing America’s Critical Minerals Supply Chain Act, to incentivize domestic manufacturing of our minerals supply chain. Northern Minnesota and the United States leads the world in the domestic iron and steel industry, and we soon will with precious metals such as copper, nickel, and platinum-group elements as well. It is crucial we keep extraction and production domestic to feed America’s defense, renewable energy, and everyday modern life needs," said Congressman Peter Stauber (MN-08).

"Mineral independence is key to our national and economic security as a nation. The COVID-19 outbreak has made evident our need to be mineral independent, and unleash America’s mining potential. As demands shifts to clean energy technologies, critical minerals like copper play an essential role in developing these new innovations. Relying on the global market when we have an abundance of minerals right here at home will only send more jobs abroad and cripple our economic potential," said Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06)

"The coronavirus crisis has magnified the importance for the United States to produce critical substances we need to sustain our advanced way of life. Since China has even threatened to withhold lifesaving products or ingredients, we should heed the warning and immediately begin producing our own essentials with which we are so blessed to have right here in this country," said Congressman Louie Gohmert (TX-01).

"COVID-19 has highlighted the United States reliance on the world supply chain, particularly in regard to our dependence on critical minerals and chemical elements like cobalt. We can mine these elements in Idaho, in a cleaner and more environmentally efficient way than our competitors in the DRC and China. It is important for the United States to realize this increasing demand for critical minerals, and look to our own resources—like those in the Gem State—to resolve this strain and increase our own self-sufficiency," said Congressman Russ Fulcher (ID-01).

"Demand for critical minerals for energy technology is growing quickly, and security of these minerals is a major piece of America’s energy future. Especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a renewed sense of importance to ensure the United States is energy independent and can rely on American energy sectors for production. As we work to see that critical minerals are secure, we must keep in mind that maintaining a diverse energy portfolio is something that will also be key to our success," said Congressman James Comer (KY-01).

Courtesy of the International Energy Agency:

- Covid-19 has underscored the need to monitor the security of minerals supply for a clean energy future.

- Rising deployment of clean energy technologies is set to supercharge demand for critical minerals.

- Geopolitical concerns will not fade away as electric vehicles replace conventional cars.

- Delayed or curtailed investments could lead to a tighter market in the years ahead.

- A renewed focus on mineral supplies is vital for accelerated energy transitions.

The full analysis can be reviewed HERE.

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