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The NAM Urges Increased Minerals Production

By NAM News Room

The NAM urged Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and John Barrasso (R-WY) to work to increase domestic production of key minerals ahead of a Senate hearing on critical mineral demand and recycling. 

No trivial matter: “The United States is dangerously dependent on nations like China for many of our rare earth and critical minerals,” NAM Vice President of Energy & Resources Policy Rachel Jones said.

  • “In fact, the United States is 100% import reliant on 17 minerals on the critical minerals list and more than 50% import reliant on an additional 30 critical minerals. The impact is not trivial. These and other minerals and metals are used for renewable energy technologies, electric vehicles and other products that can help reduce energy costs, as well as to make appliances, laptops, cell phones and in national defense applications. All told, the industries that rely on these minerals add $3.3 trillion to the U.S. GDP.”

Shared concerns: Manchin echoed the NAM’s concerns at Thursday’s hearing.

  • “More action is going to be necessary to get supply chains — including mining, processing, manufacturing and more — where they need to be domestically to keep up with the growing demand for these critical minerals instead of increasing our reliance on China,” he said, according to the West Virginia Metro News.
  • The legislature of Manchin’s home state, West Virginia, is currently considering several measures to promote rare-earth element production.

Smart policies needed: The NAM advocates for “smart policies to strengthen federal oversight and supply chain support, in collaboration with private sector technologies, uses and capital investment,” Jones advised.

  • These include the Department of Energy’s recent plan to invest $140 million in the development of a full-scale rare earth and critical minerals extraction and separation refinery.
  • But more work is required, such as the authorization of projects that would repurpose mines, recover resources from waste and enhance recycling methods, Jones added.
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