U.S. Senators Introduce Bipartisan Critical Minerals Act

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"Measures includes the Powering America's Lithium Production Act, which increases domestic production of advanced lithium products."

Mineweb, Dorothy Kosich

Seventeen U.S. Senators, representing both Republicans and Democrats, Thursday introduced the Critical Minerals Policy Act, which seeks to "revitalize the United States critical minerals supply chain and reduce the nation's growing dependence on foreign suppliers."

The legislation directs the U.S. Geological Survey to establish a list of minerals critical to the U.S. economy and provides a comprehensive set of policies to address each economic sector that relies upon critical minerals."

The measure's chief sponsor, Ranking Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee member Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, said, the act will modernize "our policies for production, processing, environmental protection, manufacturing and recycling."

"The Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2011 and the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2011 [introduced by Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado] set forth a constructive plan of action that will enable American businesses and innovators to develop and make the products and technologies that will propel our economy, allow us to compete globally and improve the quality of our lives," he added.

Legislation co-sponsor Kay Hagan, D-North Carolina, said the measures also includes "my Powering America's Lithium Production Act, which increases domestic production of advanced lithium products that will power the cars and smart grid of the future."

If enacted into law, the bill will require the U.S. Geological Survey to "develop a rigorous methodology for determining which minerals are critical, and then use that methodology to designate critical minerals."

It also requires the Secretary of Energy to conduct a R&D program to facilitate the more efficient use and recycling of critical minerals, as well as alternatives that can reduce the demand for them.

The Secretary of Interior is directed to complete a comprehensive national resources assessment within four years of the bill's enactment for each mineral designated as critical.

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