President Trump Issues an Executive Order Addressing the Domestic Mining and Critical Minerals Supply

Oct 5, 2020

by ASME.org

Last week, President Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) on Addressing the Threat to the Domestic Supply Chain from Reliance on Critical Minerals from Foreign Adversaries. The EO attempts to better secure the American critical mineral supply chain by expanding the domestic mining industry, supporting mining jobs, alleviating permitting delays, and reducing the Nation’s dependence on China for critical minerals. Additionally, the EO directs Federal agencies to use their authorities to investigate and work to decrease the Nation’s reliance on minerals imports.

 

The White House believes this EO will help spur economic recovery by removing what it has deemed as unnecessary bureaucratic processes and by spurring job growth in the mining sector. This EO will allow for more funding to be directed towards domestic mining projects for the purpose of ensuring a secure and reliable domestic supply of critical materials.

 

In a message to Congress regarding the new EO, the President states, “A strong America cannot be dependent on imports from foreign adversaries for the critical minerals that are increasingly necessary to maintain our economic and military strength in the 21st century.” Today, critical materials are used widely for the products that the military, national infrastructure, and economy depend such as airplanes, computers, cell phones, electricity generation and transmission systems, and advanced electronics.

 

According to the EO, the United States currently imports over 75% of the barite (a specific critical material) that it consumes, with over 50% of those imports coming from China. Additionally, the EO states that “the United States depends on foreign sources for 100 percent of its gallium, with China producing around 95 percent of the global supply. Gallium-based semiconductors are indispensable for cellphones, blue and violet light-emitting diodes (LEDs), diode lasers, and fifth-generation (5G) telecommunications.”

 

The EO directs the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Energy “to take various actions to protect and expand the domestic supply chain for minerals, consistent with applicable law, such as the publication of guidance, the revision of regulations, and the acceleration of the issuance of permits.” ASME will continue to follow and report on any developments made in these areas.

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