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January 19, 2024

King Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Reduce Dependence on China for Key Minerals Used in Military Technology, Consumer Goods

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME) has introduced bipartisan legislation to help the United States reduce its supply chain dependence on China for key minerals used in military technologies and consumer goods. The Critical Minerals Security Act would counter Chinese industry dominance by directing the U.S. Department of the Interior to evaluate the global supply and ownership of critical minerals, establish a process for assisting U.S. companies seeking to divest critical minerals operations in foreign countries, and develop a method for sharing intellectual property for clean mining and processing technologies with U.S. allies and partners.

Minerals, like lithium, nickel, and cobalt are critical for items like smart phones, wearable technology, clean energy storage capacitors and electric vehicle batteries. They can also be found in common household appliances like refrigerators, ovens, and dishwashers. Last year, the Administration announced major investments to expand the domestic critical minerals supply chain, working with domestic businesses and local leaders to ramp up production and manufacturing of these minerals here in the United States. The Critical Minerals Security Act seeks to make good on the promise of reducing American dependence on China by ensuring the federal government continues to assess the availability of these essential resources.

“Critical minerals are essential to both America’s national security and our supply chain resiliency since these raw materials are used in our military technologies and consumer goods,” said Senator King. “The Critical Minerals Security Act would help us better understand these complex supply chains so we can secure United States’ access to critical minerals and counter Chinese dominance. Any continued reliance on China – and other bad actors – for these resources is downright dangerous so we must invest in our own rare earth minerals supply chain. Thanks to my colleagues for recognizing the importance of American industry to build jobs here at home, and reduce dependence on our adversaries.”

Joining Senator King on this legislation are Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Mark Warner (D-VA), Todd Young (R-IN), James Lankford (R-OK), and John Hickenlooper (D-CO).

As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, Senator King is committed to advancing American competitiveness in 21st century technologies and reducing America’s reliance on fossil fuels while improving national security and strengthening cyberdefenses. Senator King is the co-chair of the Senate Semiconductor Caucus, and has been one of the Senate’s leading advocates for improving battery technology and recycling as a way to strengthen national security and create good-paying American jobs. He previously introduced the Battery Material Processing and Component Manufacturing Act, to boost domestic production of batteries, and the Battery and Critical Mineral Recycling Act of 2021, to incentivize the recycling of single use and rechargeable batteries. 


Additional Background:

To address information gaps, the Critical Minerals Information Act would direct the U.S. Secretary of the Interior to submit a report to Congress no later than one year after enactment and every two years afterwards on all critical mineral and rare earth element (REE) resources around the world that includes:

  1. Which resources are controlled by the U.S., an ally or partner, or a foreign entity of concern;
  2. From which mines critical minerals and REEs are being extracted and estimates of their output volumes;
  3. The operators and beneficial owners of the mines;
  4. An assessment, prepared in consultation with the Secretary of State, of ways to collaborate with countries in which mines or mineral processing operations are located and operated by other countries to ensure U.S. access;
  5. A compilation, prepared in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce, of cases in which entities were forced to divest stock in mining or processing operations for critical minerals and REEs based on government rulings of a foreign entity of concern;
  6. Cases in which the government of a foreign entity of concern purchased an entity forced to divest stock;
  7. And cases in which mining or processing operations for critical minerals and REEs were not subject to a government ruling but were taken over by a foreign entity of concern.

The legislation would also require the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to establish a process under which a U.S. entity seeking to divest stock in mining or mineral processing operations for critical minerals and REEs in a foreign country may notify the Secretary of the intention and allow the Secretary to provide assistance in finding another purchaser that is not under the control of a foreign entity of concern.

Lastly, it would require the Secretary of the Interior to develop and submit a progress report to Congress on:

  1. A strategy to collaborate with U.S. allies and partners to advance clean mining, refining, separation, and processing technologies;
  2. And a method for sharing intellectual property resulting from the development of these technologies to share with allies and partners.


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