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Lankford, Colleagues Champion US Critical Mineral Independence from China

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK), member of the Senate Finance and Energy and Natural Resources Committees, along with Senators Angus King (I-ME), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Mark Warner (D-VA) today introduced legislation to establish a secure supply chain of critical minerals and counter China’s market dominance by leveraging the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) partnership, which includes the US, Australia, India, and Japan.

“Anyone who wants to stand up to China needs to support this bill to diminish our dependence on China’s critical and rare earth minerals by encouraging trade partnerships with our allies,” said Lankford. “Oklahomans know it’s critically important to solve our dependence on China for minerals because we use these materials every day in everything from cellphones and batteries to military gear and medical devices. I look forward to coming together with our allies, instead of begging for minerals from China.”

“So many of the technologies that will define the future depend on critical minerals that are overwhelmingly controlled by China—which severely threatens America’s economic leadership and national security in the decades ahead,” said King. “As supply chain snarls continue to prevent Americans from accessing vital goods, it is critical that we work with allies like Australia, India, and Japan to build better systems and increase collaborative efforts to compete on the global market. Investing in rare earth minerals today is a fundamental way we can prepare ourselves for a successful and secure tomorrow—which is why I am proud to cosponsor this bipartisan bill.”

“The United States has spent years cultivating and strengthening our ties with the Quad partnership countries, and working with them is a commonsense step towards eliminating China from our critical mineral supply chain,” said Cornyn. “This legislation would ensure critical minerals for everything from consumer electronics to military defenses come from our allies instead of an adversary like China.”

“The ubiquity of critical minerals in our daily lives, and their importance in so many modern and emerging technologies, means that ensuring that our supply chains for these critical minerals are robust and secure is essential. China’s control of much of market for these minerals and other rare earth elements – combined with the exponential growth in demand that is expected in the coming years – is particularly alarming,” said Warner, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “I’m glad that the Biden administration recognizes this threat, and the comprehensive strategy and multilateral engagement that this bill calls for—in concert with our close Quad partners, like India—will be an important step in meeting this challenge.”

In light of the national security threat posed by China’s control of nearly two-thirds of the global supply of rare earth elements and many other critical minerals, Lankford’s bill would direct the Administration to leverage the Quad partnership to promote shared investment and development of this critical resource. The partnership would utilize the US Development Finance Corporation to support new development projects, production technologies, and refining facilities in coordination with our Quad partners to produce a more reliable and secure supply chain of critical minerals, and direct the United States Trade Representative to reduce trade barriers for critical minerals.

Lankford remains a leading voice on vigilance of China and the need to break free of our dependence on China’s supply chain. Lankford recently continued to press for solutions to decrease US dependence on China for critical minerals for electronics and energy infrastructure after the Biden Administration offered its limited and short-sighted approach to our mineral dependence that lacks key components because of Biden’s insistence on his climate-change activism agenda.

Lankford continues to push for solutions to our dependence on China for minerals by ensuring US mining operations can offer alternative sources here at home. However, due to the excessive, often 10-year long permitting process, Lankford introduced a bill to improve the quality and timeliness of federal permitting and review processes with respect to critical mineral production on federal land and bring the mineral supply chain back to the US.