Mineral Mining and Mineral Processing

Goals

To identify recent industry trends in mineral mining and mineral processing particularly around:
1. Critical mineral resiliency in the U.S.
2. U.S. mine permitting obstacles.
3. U.S. domestic mineral processing challenges.

Early Findings

Critical Minerals Resiliency

  • Various leaders have expressed concerns about the U.S. reliance on imports of critical minerals.
  • There is the potential for disrupting supply chains which rely on critical minerals for various uses such as electronics and defense applications.
  • A list of 35 minerals considered critical to the U.S. security and economy was published in 2019.
  • It consists of all the rare earth elements along with many non-ferrous metals.
  • The U.S. is 100% reliant on importing 14 minerals among the critical minerals list (except from the small amount that is recycled).
  • These minerals are difficult to substitute.
  • Additionally, the country is over 75% reliant on other 10 critical minerals.
  • The existing objective of U.S. mineral policy is to ensure a stable, adequate, and reliable supply of materials for national safety, economic productivity, and industrial well-being.
  • The mineral policy pushes for the development of a domestic supply of critical minerals and emphasizes that the private sector processes and produces these minerals.
  • According to the Department of Commerce, the U.S. is heavily dependent on imports of critical minerals.
  • Congress and other decision-making bodies have many administrative and legislative options to consider when addressing the U.S. vulnerabilities in relation to critical minerals.
  • The economic success and national security of the U.S. is highly dependent on the guaranteed supply of critical minerals and their supply chains' resiliency.

Proposed next steps:

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