U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) today introduced the Critical Mineral Independence Act of 2022, legislation to help ensure that the U.S. secures critical mineral independence from China. The U.S. cannot afford to allow the critical minerals used by the Department of Defense (DoD) to be mined or processed in adversarial countries, and it must urgently invest and build its capabilities to achieve critical mineral independence in coordination with allies.
“We put our national security and economic vitality at risk when we rely on countries like China for critical minerals,” Senator Romney said. “Rapid, strategic investments by the U.S. and its allies in the mining and processing of critical minerals are needed to meet the security challenges we face today. These mining and processing investments will also help bolster our domestic critical mineral capabilities, where minerals like copper, lithium, and cobalt are essential components in everything from batteries and computers to electric vehicles and satellites. China’s rise in power is aided by its monopolization of raw materials and the U.S. must secure critical mineral independence to bolster our security.”
“We cannot continue to be dependent on China for critical minerals—resources that are crucial to our economy, and which we have in abundance in the U.S., particularly in Alaska like the significant copper and zinc resources in the Ambler Mining District that the Biden administration—remarkably—continues to delay,” Senator Sullivan said. “If we are going to build out and support our domestic clean energy industries and national security initiatives, we need to get serious about a strategy for unleashing America’s national supply chains and processing capabilities. In doing so, we will create thousands of good-paying jobs, protect our national security interests, deny economic support for violators of basic human rights and build out America’s all-of-the-above energy sector.”
China controls much of the world’s critical mineral mining and processing. The DoD must work with our allies immediately to have sufficient independence of critical minerals to successfully implement the National Defense Strategy. The NDAA gives a boost to funding for critical mineral mining and processing, and the Romney/Sullivan bill strengthens the provisions of that funding to meet the threats of this decade.