On March 15, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing entitled “Abandoned Hardrock Mines and the Role of Non-Governmental Entities” to discuss the laws and procedures governing the reclamation of hardrock mines in the U.S. and highlight areas where reform is needed. A panel of expert witnesses at the hearing testified regarding the need for “Good Samaritan” legislation providing relief of the potential liability as well as funding to facilitate the cleanup of abandoned hardrock mines.
On March 7, the full House Committee on Natural Resources marked up the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act (H.R.520), following a hearing to consider the bill last month. The Act, introduced by Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV-2) on January 13, aims to support domestic production of minerals that are of strategic and critical importance to the economic and national security, energy infrastructure, and manufacturing competitiveness of the Unites States. H.R.520 was reported favorably as amended by the committee, and now awaits further action on the House floor.
No country in the world produces all of the mineral resources necessary for modern society. International trade plays a critical role in providing these raw materials, forming a global network of production, export, import, and use. This network must continuously adapt to national and international developments in science, technology, politics, and economics. As a result, information on the global flow of raw materials plays a fundamental role in improving national and international resilience to potential supply disruptions and market changes.
Construction of a computerized model to estimate mineral resources is a common practice in mineral exploration projects and mining operations. Many times a technical report is done as per international reporting standards such as NI-43-101 or JORC to meet the requirement of certain stock exchanges in the world. In all these standards, there are certain minimum suggested requirements that have to be met for reporting mineral resources and reserves. The standards are not and cannot be prescriptive.
Following the release of a USGS report on 23 mineral commodities that are critical for the U.S. economy and security, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to reduce America's dependence on foreign sources of critical minerals. Shortly after the executive order, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke released a secretarial order on December 21 directing the initial steps to producing a nationwide geological and topographical survey of the U.S.
On December 12, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held an oversight hearing, “Examining Consequences of America’s Growing Dependence on Foreign Minerals,” to discuss reasons for the declining self-sufficiency of the United States for mineral commodities, and the consequences of relying on foreign sources for critical minerals.