Daines Highlights Need to Eliminate U.S. Reliance on China’s Critical Minerals 

Minerals Found in Semiconductors, Electric Vehicles and More Make U.S. Reliant on China 

U.S. SENATE – U.S.Senator Steve Daines today at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing highlighted the importance of supporting domestic mining and reducing the United States’ reliance on China and Russia. Daines pressed Biden administration officials on their policies that are making it harder to mine domestically.

Daines on the importance of decreasing reliance on China:

To watch Daines’ full remarks, click HERE.

“Behind me is the U.S. Geological Survey’s most recent graph showing the United States mineral import reliance, and this came comes right out of the report…Of the 65 minerals on that list, we rely on China or Russia for over half of them. That should be a wake-up call for all of us…we just came through…The War of Yom Kippur, 1973, was a wake-up call to the world as it exposed the dependencies, we had a kind of a single point of failure on the Middle East for oil. Of course, the Gulf of Hormuz, it was blockaded, we saw oil prices skyrocket, and in fact those skyrocketing oil prices contributed to some of the inflationary pressures. We saw that by 1981, a 30-year fixed mortgage was 18.6 percent.

“What I’m concerned about is we are headed down a path where we could repeat the same mistakes that were made back in the 70’s. As we look forward in terms of a more renewable kind of economy more dependencies on electricity as a supply for cars and so forth, that China and Russia become the OPEC of critical minerals.

“Simply put, we need to be mining more in the U.S. because what came out of the War of 1973, the war of Yom Kippur War was a rallying cry, we need energy independence. And we’ve been working on that now in the United States to develop more Made-in-America, oil, gas, coal, to ensure we are decoupled from dependencies in terms of kind of the ultimate supply chain failure and that is an energy supply chain failure. This could be another situation that faces us if we don’t find ways to bring more of these critical mineral mining operations to the United States or to friendly countries.”

Daines displayed a chart showing the United States’ net import reliance for critical minerals. 

Daines questioning a Biden Interior Department official on anti-mining policies:

To watch the exchange, click HERE.

Senator Daines: Deputy Secretary Beaudreau, the Department of the Interior recently released their recommendations to reform mining it you suggested raising taxes, lengthening the permitting process, withdrawing more land from development and slapping a new royalty on mining operations. All these recommendations are not going to make it easier to mine domestically, it will make it harder. They will drive us further in a dependence on China and Russia rather than promoting and incentivizing U.S. mineral independence. Mr. Boudreau, do you agree that your recent recommendations are a step backward from mineral independence? And why would the Department think that creating more costs and more regulatory hurdles for mining projects is the best idea when you’re faced with the reality of Chinese and Russian mineral dominance?

Department of the Interior Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau: So, the goal of the report and the recommendations in the report is to combat exactly the situation that your chart depicts. In order to do that, there are fundamental things that have to be addressed. One is the legacy and history of conflict that the mining activities in the United States have posed for communities across the United States. Some of that is reflected in over the 500,000 abandoned hardrock mines that dot the United States, especially in the American West. So, any discussion about royalties reflected in the report is meant to help address that, it’s the same thing that we do with mine reclamation for the coal industry. It’s the same thing we do with decommissioning and reclamation, with the oil and gas industry. And so, again, that is to build a sustainable system for mining in the United States that has social license.