A drive to secure supplies of materials used in the defense sector offers opportunities for new miners, but obstacles with permitting must still be overcome.
Unites States President Donald Trump has called for an end to the country’s reliance on foreign sources of critical minerals, including battery materials and rare earths, in a move which could be boon to mining juniors.
The US should increase efforts to identify and exploit domestic resources of critical minerals, Trump said in an executive order signed on December 20, 2017. “It shall be the policy of the Federal government to reduce the nation’s vulnerability to disruptions in the supply of critical minerals, which constitutes a strategic vulnerability for the security and prosperity of the United States,” the order said.
“This dependency of the United States on foreign sources creates a strategic vulnerability for both its economy and military to adverse foreign government action, natural disaster and other events that can disrupt supply of these key minerals,” Trump said.
A secretarial order, signed on December 21, directs the US Geological Survey to identify critical minerals, create a comprehensive geological survey of the US, and ensure this data is made publicly available.
On December 19, the US Geological Survey released a separate report which highlighted 23 critical minerals, including lithium, graphite, cobalt, and rare earth elements.
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