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National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act (HR 520 / S 145, 115th Congress) Download PDF

  • Government
  • Elected Body
  • Nanotechnology

Requires the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to more efficiently develop domestic sources of the minerals and mineral materials of strategic and critical importance to the economic and national security and manufacturing competitiveness of the United States, and for other purposes.

Updated last April 14, 2017
for the 01/13/2017 version of HR 520.
What it does 

HR 520 / S 145, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act, protects and develops precious natural mineral resources, which are crucial to advanced nanotechnology. Driving this bill were findings of the 115th Congress that:   

(1) the industrialization of developing nations has driven demand for nonfuel minerals necessary for telecommunications, military technologies, healthcare technologies, and conventional and renewable energy technologies;

(2) the availability of minerals and mineral materials are essential for economic growth, national security, technological innovation, and the manufacturing and agricultural supply chain;

(3) minerals and mineral materials are critical components of every transportation, water, telecommunications, and energy infrastructure project necessary to modernize the crumbling infrastructure of the United States;

(4) the exploration, production, processing, use, and recycling of minerals contribute significantly to the economic well-being, security, and general welfare of the United States;

(5) the United States has vast mineral resources but is becoming increasingly dependent on foreign sources of mineral resources, as demonstrated by the fact that—

(A) 25 years ago, the United States was dependent on foreign sources for 45 nonfuel mineral materials, of which—

(i) 8 were imported by the United States to fulfill 100 percent of the requirements of the United States for those nonfuel mineral materials; and

(ii) 19 were imported by the United States to fulfill greater than 50 percent of the requirements of the United States for those nonfuel mineral materials;

(B) by 2015 the import dependence of the United States for nonfuel mineral materials increased from dependence on the import of 45 nonfuel mineral materials to dependence on the import of 47 nonfuel mineral materials, of which—

(i) 19 were imported by the United States to fulfill 100 percent of the requirements of the United States for those nonfuel mineral materials; and

(ii) 22 were imported by the United States to fulfill greater than 50 percent of the requirements of the United States for those nonfuel mineral materials;

(C) according to the Department of Energy, the United States imports greater than 50 percent of the 41 metals and minerals key to clean energy applications;

(D) the United States share of worldwide mineral exploration dollars was 7 percent in 2015, down from 19 percent in the early 1990s;

(E) the 2014 Ranking of Countries for Mining Investment, which ranks 25 major mining countries, found that 7- to 10-year permitting delays are the most significant risk to mining projects in the United States; and

(F) in late 2016, the Government Accountability Office found that—

(i) “the Federal government’s approach to addressing critical materials supply issues has not been consistent with selected key practices for interagency collaboration, such as ensuring that agencies’ roles and responsibilities are clearly defined”; and

(ii) “the Federal critical materials approach faces other limitations, including data limitations and a focus on only a subset of critical materials, a limited focus on domestic production of critical materials, and limited engagement with industry”.