Pentagon asks Congress to fund mining projects in Australia, U.K. – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters – May 11, 2022)

May 11 (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Defense has asked Congress to let it fund facilities in the United Kingdom and Australia that process strategic minerals used to make electric vehicles and weapons, calling the proposal crucial to national defense.

The request to alter the Cold War-era Defense Production Act (DPA) came as part of the Pentagon’s recommendations to Congress for how to write the upcoming U.S. military funding bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act.

Congress may reject or accept the proposed changes when it finalizes the bill later this year. Washington is trying harder to reduce America’s dependence on China for lithium, rare earths and other minerals used to make a range of technologies.

Existing law bars DPA funds from being used to dig new mines, but they can be used for processing equipment, feasibility studies and upgrades to existing facilities. Currently, only facilities in the United States and Canada are eligible for DPA funding.

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