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Panel Reviews Bill to Boost Domestic Critical Mineral Production

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 15, 2018 -

Today, the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a legislative hearing on H.R. 520, the “National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act” (Rep. Mark Amodei) (R-NV).

“There are many things that make the United States exceptional… We are blessed with the natural advantage of vast mineral resources, which have only become more valuable in the modern era. Today, nonfuel minerals are used in almost every aspect of our lives, from laptops and smartphones, to advanced weaponry and infrastructure modernization,” Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Chairman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) stated.

Despite an abundant domestic supply of minerals essential to the economy, national security and technological advancement of the United States, the nation’s dependence on foreign minerals has more than doubled from 30 to 64 commodities since 1986. Today, less than half of minerals are sourced domestically.

H.R. 520 streamlines the federal permitting process to boost access to critical minerals in a reliable and timely manner.

“[In Montana] we have not issued a significant mining permit in over 20 years,” Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) stressed. “Montana is the Treasure State… we just can’t get at our treasure.”

Panelists attributed permitting delays and regulatory uncertainty to the nation’s reliance on foreign minerals.

“The U.S. has one of the longest permitting processes in the developed world for mining projects… placing the U.S. at a disadvantage,” General Manager of Hecla Mining Company Doug Stiles stressed.

“Lack of efficiency in the permitting process has severely threatened the development of our domestic supply of critical and strategic minerals important to the United States,” Vice President of Community & Government Affairs for Arizona Mining Greg Lucero argued.

“[H.R. 520] carefully addresses the deficiencies of the outdated U.S. permitting system without changing environmental and other protections,” Stiles stated.

The bill emphasizes coordination between federal and state agencies, minimizing delays and duplicative reviews and creating more predictable timeframes.

A version of H.R. 520 passed the House in the 112th, 113th and 114th Congress.

Click here to view full witness testimony.  


Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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