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Lankford Secures Critical Mineral Supply Chains, Counters Chinese Dominance

WASHINGTON, DC – Senators James Lankford (R-OK), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mark Warner (D-VA), Todd Young (R-IN), Angus King (I-ME), and John Hickenlooper (D-CO) introduced the Critical Minerals Security Act, which would help secure US access to critical mineral supply chains and counter Chinese industry dominance by directing the US Department of the Interior to evaluate the global supply and ownership of critical minerals, establishing a process to assist US companies seeking to divest critical minerals operations in foreign countries, and developing a method for sharing intellectual property for clean mining and processing technologies with US allies and partners. 

“The United States shouldn’t remain dependent on communist China or other adversaries for critical and rare earth minerals used by our defense, health care, aerospace, technology, and energy industries,” said Lankford. “It is critical to know which mines are run by our allies and which are run by adversaries around the world. Securing the supply chain for critical minerals makes American energy and national security even stronger.”

“Despite the important role critical minerals play in everything from consumer electronics to military defense, we need more information to secure a reliable, long-term supply of these minerals,” said Cornyn. “This legislation would ensure the US and our allies understand how critical minerals are controlled around the world so we can counter foreign countries of concern.”

“This bill is an important step in ensuring that the US government, alongside our allies, identifies secure sources of critical minerals and supports domestic industry in developing the capacity to mine, refine, and process these minerals at home and in partner countries abroad,” said Warner. “I am committed to ensuring the US has a resilient supply chain for critical minerals that are essential components for technologies critical to our national security, to combat China’s continued attempts to monopolize control of these minerals.”

“The Chinese Communist Party is aggressively attempting to monopolize critical mineral resources, and the United States urgently needs to diversify our supply chain and strengthen ties with allies,” said Young. “Our legislation would respond to China’s actions by better tracking global mineral reserves and devising a national strategy for advancing mining technologies and international cooperation.”

“Critical minerals are essential to both America’s national security and our supply chain resiliency since these raw materials are used in our military technologies and consumer goods,” said King. “The Critical Minerals Security Act would help us better understand these complex supply chains so we can secure United States’ access to critical minerals and counter Chinese dominance. Any continued reliance on China – and other bad actors – for these resources is downright dangerous so we must invest in our own rare earth minerals supply chain. Thanks to my colleagues for recognizing the importance of American industry to build jobs here at home, and reduce dependence on our adversaries.”

For years Lankford has called for resilience against China’s economic coercion, seeking to address ongoing dependence on China for everything from farmland purchases to pharmaceuticals to critical minerals. Lankford has championed the SOIL Act, which targets international land purchases from countries that threaten national security. He introduced the Pharmaceuticals Supply Chain Security Act to proactively reduce US dependence on China for our pharmaceutical supply chain. Lankford also led the bipartisan Quad Critical Minerals Partnership Act and introduced legislation last year to reduce the US’ reliance on China for critical minerals.

Background:

To address information gaps, the Critical Minerals Security Act would direct the US Secretary of the Interior to submit a report to Congress no later than one year after enactment and every two years afterwards on all critical mineral and rare earth element (REE) resources around the world that includes:

  • Which resources are controlled by the US, an ally or partner, or a foreign entity of concern;
  • From which mines critical minerals and REEs are being extracted and estimates of their output volumes;
  • The operators and beneficial owners of the mines;
  • An assessment, prepared in consultation with the Secretary of State, of ways to collaborate with countries in which mines or mineral processing operations are located and operated by other countries to ensure US access;
  • A compilation, prepared in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce, of cases in which entities were forced to divest stock in mining or processing operations for critical minerals and REEs based on government rulings of a foreign entity of concern;
  • Cases in which the government of a foreign entity of concern purchased an entity forced to divest stock;
  • And cases in which mining or processing operations for critical minerals and REEs were not subject to a government ruling but were taken over by a foreign entity of concern.

The legislation would also require the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to establish a process under which a US entity seeking to divest stock in mining or mineral processing operations for critical minerals and REEs in a foreign country may notify the Secretary of the Interior and allow the Secretary to provide assistance in finding another purchaser that is not under the control of a foreign entity of concern.

Lastly, it would require the Secretary of the Interior to develop and submit a progress report to Congress on:

  • A strategy to collaborate with US allies and partners to advance clean mining, refining, separation, and processing technologies;
  • And a method for sharing intellectual property resulting from the development of these technologies to share with allies and partners.

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