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Romney, Sullivan, Peters Introduce Bill to Promote U.S. Critical Mineral Independence from China

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Spending Oversight, along with Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Gary Peters (D-MI), today introduced the Critical Mineral Independence Act of 2023legislation to push the Department of Defense to achieve critical mineral supply chain independence from China, Russia, and other geostrategic competitors and adversaries. 

“China’s rise in power is aided by its monopolization of raw materials and we’re putting our national security and economic vitality at risk by relying on countries like China for critical minerals,” said Senator Romney. “The U.S. and our allies must rapidly and strategically invest in the mining and processing of critical minerals that are needed to meet current security challenges. Our legislation directs the Department of Defense to come up with ways to help bolster our domestic critical mineral capabilities and reduce our dependence on critical minerals coming from or processed in China.”

“It is absolutely imperative that we end America’s dependence on China for critical minerals—resources that are crucial to our economy and our national security. We have these minerals in abundance in the U.S., particularly in Alaska, like the significant copper and zinc resources in the Ambler Mining District, but the Biden administration—remarkably—continues to delay that project,” Senator Sullivan said. “We need to get serious about unleashing America’s national supply chains and processing capabilities. My colleagues and I are putting forward legislation directing the Department of Defense to craft a strategy to end our mineral and supply chain dependence on our adversaries—a strategy that, in turn, would create thousands of good-paying jobs, protect our national security interests, deny economic support for violators of basic human rights, and help build out America’s all-of-the-above energy sector.” 

“The Department of Defense should not be dependent on foreign adversaries like China for resources needed to make equipment and ammunition that are essential to our combat readiness and warfare capabilities,” said Senator Peters. “This bipartisan effort will help protect our national and economic security, strengthen our critical mineral supply chains, and ensure our military can procure the tools they need to defend our country.”

Background:

Romney and Sullivan introduced similar legislation last Congress. China controls much of the world’s critical mineral mining and processing.

Romney, Sullivan, and Peters’ Critical Mineral Independence Act of 2023:

  1. Directs the Department of Defense to craft a strategy to develop DOD supply chains that are not dependent on mining or processing of critical minerals in or by China, Russia, or other geostrategic competitors or adversaries in order to achieve critical mineral supply chain independence for the Department of Defense by 2035.
  2. Requires DOD to recommend changes to acquisition laws, regulations, and policies of the Department that would promote supply chain independence from China, Russia, and other geostrategic competitors or adversaries.
  3. Instructs DOD to evaluate the utility of using Defense Production Act authorities to expand supply chains and processing capacity for critical minerals in the United States.
  4. Promotes engagement with allies and partners to jointly reduce dependence on critical minerals from China, Russia, and other geostrategic competitors or adversaries.