Issue Date: February 26, 2018
U.S. ‘critical minerals’ evaluation moves ahead
The U.S. Department of the Interior has issued a report and draft list of 35 nonfuel minerals it believes are critical to the nation’s economy and national security. Nearly all the minerals are mined primarily outside the U.S. and are a “strategic vulnerability for the security and prosperity of the United States,” says Tim Petty, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water & Science. The report and list respond to a Trump administration executive order to investigate the need to encourage development of critical minerals. The result of the effort could include new technological approaches, such as reprocessing of used materials, new trade agreements, or new efforts to ease or streamline the environmental permitting process for mining, according to the order. The draft list of critical minerals includes commodities, such as aluminum, which is used in almost all sectors of the economy; platinum group metals, used for catalytic agents; and rare-earth elements, used in batteries and electronics.
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