U.S. Critical Mineral Projects Eligible for DOE Loan Guarantees After Push from Murkowski

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) today released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) revised the guidance for its Title 17 loan guarantee program to provide eligibility for U.S. mines that will produce critical minerals. The change came after Senator Murkowski repeatedly pointed out DOE’s misinterpretation of federal law that she wrote to make domestic critical mineral projects eligible for its low-cost financing.

“There should be no question that U.S. mines are eligible for DOE’s loan guarantee program, because I wrote the statute to ensure that would be the case. I’m glad the Department has taken my advice, re-read the law, and deemed U.S. critical mineral projects eligible for loan guarantees,” Murkowski said. “This guidance is good, but the job’s not done. What we need now is for the Department to go beyond words, beyond funding projects that lock in long-term mineral imports from abroad, and to instead support domestic projects—in states like Alaska—that will strengthen our economy and security.”

“It’s great to see the Department of Energy recognizing and leaning into the fact that strong minerals supply chains begin in the mine, with extraction. Given that responsible sourcing is a stated priority for the administration, by supporting domestic extraction, DOE will help ensure that the minerals that feed our manufacturing supply chains are produced in accordance with the world’s strongest environmental and labor laws, instead of being sourced from global incumbents with inferior standards. We look forward to seeing this policy gain traction on the ground and hope to see more guidance and programs from across the agencies acknowledge that responsible sourcing starts in American mines,” said Rich Nolan, President and CEO of the National Mining Association.

Congress enacted Murkowski’s American Mineral Security Act through the Energy Act of 2020 and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021. The bipartisan infrastructure law explicitly provides Title 17 eligibility for domestic mines that will increase the production and supply of critical minerals, but despite that, DOE initially determined it could not support mines—just support infrastructure and processing.

At a hearing held by the Energy and Natural Resources Committee in January 2024, Murkowski questioned Deputy Secretary of Energy David Turk about this issue. Turk promised to review the issue, noting he was “happy to talk in depth with [Murkowski] and your staff on this and to work through it.” Murkowski has continued to push administration officials to modify DOE’s guidance since that exchange.

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