Murkowski Welcomes DOE Effort to Strengthen Domestic Mineral Supply Chains

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today issued the following statement after the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Loan Programs Office issued new guidance encouraging applications for projects that support secure supply chains of critical minerals. 

“I thank Secretary Brouillette for his continued efforts to boost our economic and national security by strengthening our mineral security,” said Murkowski. “This guidance will help ensure that reasonable support is available to help domestic producers, refiners, and recyclers supply the minerals that make our modern life possible. It is critical that this policy be maintained and that Congress do its part to build robust domestic supply chains.” 

Today’s announcement builds on executive orders issued by President Trump and actions taken by various Departments and agencies. Specifically, the guidance applies to applicants for the Title XVII and the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan programs.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the United States imported at least half of its supply of 46 different nonfuel minerals in 2019, including 100 percent of 17 of them. China, in particular, has consolidated control over the supply chains of many of the minerals used to make medical equipment, smart phones, clean energy, and defense technologies.

The World Bank released a report earlier this year estimating that demand for lithium, graphite, and cobalt will increase 500 percent by 2050 to meet clean energy demand. 

Murkowski has long been an advocate of U.S. mineral security. Her bipartisan legislation, the American Mineral Security Act, would ensure timely surveying of domestic deposits of critical minerals, cut down on unnecessary permitting delays for projects to produce them, promote workforce development, and invest in research and development to increase recycling and the development of alternatives. It has been included in three proposed Senate coronavirus relief packages.

As Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Murkowski has focused congressional attention on mineral security. Last year, she convened a hearing focused on the link between minerals and clean energy technologies. In June, she convened a hearing focused on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on supply chains and the fundamental role that minerals play in them. 

More information about DOE’s announcement is available here.

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