A hearing was held on September 28 by the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to examine the opportunities in counteracting the People’s Republic of China’s control of Critical Mineral Supply Chains. Also, U.S. environmental activists say that the American soil product needed for America’s transition to green energy will also pollute lands at home.
American Soil Product
The U.S. demand on some of the American soil products such as lithium, nickel, and copper, minerals that are important to electric vehicles, wind turbines, and new technologies was discussed at the hearing of Capitol Hill. They also discussed other American Soil Product that was used in a wide range of electronics and in U.S. military systems.
According to a report by The China Project, China produces more of these American soil product. Processing almost 60% of the world’s lithium, 80% of manganese, and 70% of cobalt. This was based on the report of the Colorado School of Mines’ Payne Institution on September 26 for public policy. In the case of Dysprosium, which is used in nuclear reactors, China had 100% of the production and refinement of these American soil products.
Bills from numerous committees in both chambers of Congress aimed at expanding local mining and processing of the minerals show strong bipartisan support for reducing reliance on China for essential minerals. However, getting approval to mine on American territory can take years, and environmental groups frequently do everything in their power to prevent mines from opening.
Gumming up the works
In a report by Reddit, The investment in American mining for American soil product was discouraged due to the fact that some of the mining companies in the U.S. must have 7-10 years of operation to get permission to start digging, unlike Canada and Australia which will wait 2-3 years only.
According to the company’s website, one such protest campaign is currently taking place in northern Minnesota against Twin Metals’ proposed $1.7 billion project, which would access a deposit of nickel, cobalt, and copper. After the Canadian business Duluth Metals Limited discovered important mineral reserves in northern Minnesota, close to Lake Superior, and partnered with the Chilean company Antofagasta PLC, Twin Metals was established in 2010. Later, in 2015, Antofagasta purchased Duluth Metals.
In another testimony, Mark Compton said about Twin Metal’s leases that the cancellation would give risks associated with the leasing system and lack of security of tenure when the government used its discretion in order to cancel those leases that were acquired federal lands when the mining companies invested hundreds of millions of dollars to develop mineral deposits under its leasehold acreage. It is indeed an issue of American soil products.