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October 5, 2020

President Trump Issues Executive Order On Critical Minerals

On September 30, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order “declaring a National Emergency to expand the domestic mining industry, support mining jobs, alleviate unnecessary permitting delays, and reduce our Nation’s dependence on China for critical minerals.” As Canada’s Financial Post explains, “critical minerals include well-known metals such as aluminum and tin, but also far lesser known elements such as rubidium, strontium and others. Such alloys are used in electronics or for military and industrial purposes.”

The Financial Post says the order “opens the door for potential U.S. government investment in projects related to 35 so-called ‘critical minerals,’” and even to projects located outside the United States.

As the White House explained, the order begins the process for the U.S. Department of the Interior to develop a program to use its authorities under the Defense Production Act (DPA) to fund mineral processing that protects our national security.” It also will allow federal agencies to use their authorities to investigate and work to decrease the United States’ reliance on minerals imports.

The White House also explained the reasons for the order, noting “Over the last several decades, our Nation’s mining industry has suffered due to political inaction, a broken permitting process, and predatory foreign competition from China” and that “The United States is heavily reliant on imports of numerous critical minerals that are critical to America’s national security and economic prosperity, despite the presence of significant sources of some of these minerals across the United States.”