On Wednesday, July 23, 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held an oversight hearing, titled “American Metals and Mineral Security: An examination of the domestic critical minerals supply and demand chain.” During the hearing, a panel of witnesses spoke on the benefits of securing a supply of minerals through domestic mining. This panel included representatives from GE Global Research and the National Defense Industrial Association, among others.
The hearing demonstrated support for H.R. 761, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act. H.R. 761 passed the House (246-178) on September 18, 2013, and is awaiting Senate approval. The purpose is to “more efficiently develop domestic sources of the minerals and mineral materials of strategic and critical importance to United States.” Key sections of H.R. 761 introduce mandates for streamlining the permitting process for mineral development and limits the permitting review period to 30 months.
Proponents of the legislation state that a “[g]reater domestic production of critical minerals can bolster our national and economic security, and create jobs” and estimate that there are “$6.2 trillion worth of raw materials” within U.S. borders. (Minerals Make Life; National Mining Association.) For some industry groups, this hearing signifies growing support for the domestic mining industry.