Will The U.S. Choose Dependence, or Independence, For Critical Minerals?

It’s the week of the 4th of July, so it seems like the right time to talk about the fact that the United States is dependent upon a lot of other countries for the metals and minerals we use every single day. The U.S. is almost 100 percent dependent upon rare-earth elements, the majority of which come from China, we are dependent upon other countries for our cobalt, nickel, copper, as well as dozens of other metals and minerals.

Thankfully, the Trump Administration is taking steps to make the U.S. more independent, in terms of reliance on other countries for our minerals.

According to Reuters, the administration has released a report calling for a combination of short-term measures, such as stockpiling, and longer-term moves to catalyze exploration, design and construction of new mines, as well as re-establishing domestic downstream manufacturing supply chains.

“It recommended several measures for the Interior Department and its subagencies, including the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service, to remove obstacles to critical mineral development and make it easier to get permits.

It said the BLM and Forest Service should review all areas that are currently “withdrawn” – or protected – from development and assess whether those restrictions should be lifted or reduced to allow for critical mineral development.

Commerce also proposed altering how the Interior Department and its agencies review mining projects under the bedrock National Environmental Policy Act, urging expedited environmental studies and identifying minerals which can be excluded from environmental reviews.”

The report drew immediate fire from Democrats who said the new strategy would harm the environment and amounted to fresh concessions to multinational corporations [emphasis added].

Of course this proposal drew criticism from liberals, who want the United States to be 100 percent powered by wind and solar, which would require massive amounts of copper, nickel, cobalt, and rare earth elements, but don’t want any mines.

In other words, they are living in fantasy land. They want all the benefits of an advanced society without any mining. As a result, they push mineral development to other countries where there are fewer protections for the environment and miners.

The table below is from the United States Geological Survey’s 2019 Mineral Commodity Summaries and  it shows America’s dependence on imports to provide certain metals and minerals we use every day, and where we import these commodities from. I’ve highlighted the minerals we should be mining here in Minnesota in red. Unfortunately, it seems like clueless liberal environmentalists want to force us to use expensive, unreliable, wind and solar energy, but they don’t want any mines to produce the copper, nickel or cobalt needed to actually manufacture them.