Breaking: President Trump declares national mineral emergency, signs order to boost domestic mining - Must Read Alaska
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Saturday, June 19, 2021
HomePoliticsBreaking: President Trump declares national mineral emergency, signs order to boost domestic mining

Breaking: President Trump declares national mineral emergency, signs order to boost domestic mining


President Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order, declaring a national emergency over the country’s over reliance on minerals from countries that are considered adversaries.

Trump said that the supply of critical minerals are vulnerable to disruption because out national security relies on foreign adversaries for these raw materials.

His order calls for the Secretary of the Interior to identify critical minerals and throughout all relevant agencies he has made it the policy of the United States to “reduce the Nation’s vulnerability to disruptions in the supply of critical minerals.”

Alaska has rich repositories of minerals, including many rare earth minerals needed by the military and communications sectors. The state of Alaska and job seekers stand to benefit from the president’s order.

The Department of Interior will, according to the order, conduct a review of the 35 minerals that are essential to the “economic and national security of the United States.”

“These critical minerals are necessary inputs for the products our military, national infrastructure, and economy depend on the most. Our country needs critical minerals to make airplanes, computers, cell phones, electricity generation and transmission systems, and advanced electronics,” Trump wrote in his executive order.

America lacks the capacity to produce the majority of minerals needed in the quantities the country needs, he said. Instead, American producers depend on foreign countries to not only supply but process them.

“For 31 of the 35 critical minerals, the United States imports more than half of its annual consumption. The United States has no domestic production for 14 of the critical minerals and is completely dependent on imports to supply its demand,” he wrote.

Trump specifically called out the People’s Republic of China, saying the U.S. imports 80 percent of its rare earth elements directly from China, with portions of the remainder indirectly sourced from China through other countries.

“In the 1980s, the United States produced more of these elements than any other country in the world, but China used aggressive economic practices to strategically flood the global market for rare earth elements and displace its competitors. Since gaining this advantage, China has exploited its position in the rare earth elements market by coercing industries that rely on these elements to locate their facilities, intellectual property, and technology in China. For instance, multiple companies were forced to add factory capacity in China after it suspended exports of processed rare earth elements to Japan in 2010, threatening that country’s industrial and defense sectors and
disrupting rare earth elements prices worldwide,” he wrote.

Barite is one of the minerals mentioned in the executive order. The U.S. imports over 75 percent of the barite it consumes, and over 50 percent of the nation’s barite comes from China.

The U.S. depends on foreign sources for 100 percent of its gallium, with China producing around 95 percent of the global supply. Gallium-based semiconductors are indispensable for cellphones, blue and violet light-emitting diodes (LEDs), diode lasers, and fifth-generation (5G) telecommunications, Trump wrote.

“Like for gallium, the United States is 100 percent reliant on imports for graphite, which is used to make advanced batteries for cellphones, laptops, and hybrid and electric cars. China produces over 60 percent of the world’s graphite and almost all of the world’s production of high-purity graphite needed for rechargeable batteries,” he wrote.

“In addition, I find that the United States must broadly enhance its mining and processing capacity, including for minerals not identified as critical minerals and not included within the national emergency declared in this order. Mining and mineral processing provide jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans whose daily work allows our country and the world to ‘Buy American’ for critical technology,” Trump wrote.

The executive order comes with several target deadlines for agencies to respond and develop plans for increasing the domestic supply of minerals.

Read the entire executive order at this link.

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Excellent move by a president who is a visionary with a business perspective and who has his hand on the pulse of national security. BIG WIN WIN FOR ALASKA,!

  • Yes! Now all the tree huggers and salmon kissers can go back to Washington State and Oregon. This isn’t the 1890s anymore. There are safer ways to mine and be responsible for the environment.

    • When you come to a Forkner in the road, turn left.

  • Its about time, and it took Donald Trump to finally put the wheels in motion. The Liberals will hate this but they need to realize where the batteries for their electric cars and smart phones come from.

  • Yes, clearly. But this runs exactly counter to the people supporting Democrats in Alaska and throughout the nation; so we need this President to win another term. It has been my observation that when environmentalists win they next work at getting even.

  • This is fantastic news, and long over due.
    Thank you Suzanne, for reporting this.

  • Heh. Here comes Pebble despite its former loudmouth CEO. Cheers –

  • Build Pebble Mine!!!

  • So, Is it really better to let foreign companies like Northern Dynasty degrade our natural wilderness or should we just continue to import these minerals from overseas?
    I think if the president is so focused on improving our domestic economy, he should look to limit foreign extraction companies operating within the U.S….also bring back manufacturing from China and force companies like Apple/Nike/Patagonia to make things in America.
    Then he could end the off shore tax havens in the Virigin Islands that syphon money out of the U.S.
    We see in many industries that an over whelming amount of the profit travels right out of the country & back to the homeland of the foreign developer…while America is left with the pollution from the project and little profit in the long term.

    • You realize that there is an approval process led by the ACOE that clearly stated after 10 years of research that there will be little impact to anything?

      Stop spreading your china paid lies.

      funniest thing is the fishing industry being against mining when they kill millions of fish every year. no mining project has ever killed any fish in alaska.

  • Translation: Pebble is back on the table! Molybdenum is a mineral necessary in the processing of, among other things, steel. And Pebble has found lots of it in its early surveys.

  • That’s our president, doing what he said he would do when he campaigned in 2015-16, bringing jobs and manufacturing back to the US and out of foreign control.

  • You’re missing the point, Steve. We our being held ransom by China, which controls much of the supply chains of critical minerals and rare earths vital to our security. They could cut us off at any time, as they wish, and if tensions escalate, may well do so. We need our own supply of critical minerals and rare earths to be developed in the U.S., where environmental standards are highest, and the sooner the better. Pebble has the world’s largest supply of rhenium, a critical mineral needed as a super alloy in the turbine fan blades of the stealth F-35 fighter and in Stealth bombers. Those planes won’t fly without it.

    As to Northern Dynasty, which leases the Pebble deposit from Alaska, though it is a “foreign” company because it is incorporated in Canada, our friendly neighbor to the north, most of its shares are held by American retail investors, and its profits will flow through to those shareholders. Should Red Dog, the world’s largest zinc mine, be forcibly sold to an American company because it is operated by Teck, a Canadian company? Should Toyota and Mercedes Benz be prohibited from selling their “foreign” vehicles in the U.S.? Don’t be so parochial.

  • Besides, Steve, Pebble will provide much-needed and high-paying jobs to any of the residents of the local villages closest to the mine site who want a job. The company will even train them for the jobs. Those villages are located in the Lake and Peninsula borough, the poorest county in the country. The money they earn from Pebble, will give them the means to buy snow machines, rifles,, and ammunition used for their subsistence life style. There are other less tangible but no less real benefits from having a job, such as increased self-esteem, and it will stop the migration of the local villagers to other places in search of employment such as Anchorage. Schools in the closest villages have had to shut down because the number of students have shrunk below the state-mandated minimal number of students required to keep them open. And the money earned by Pebble workers will largely be spent in Alaska. As well as the direct jobs from Pebble, there will be at least twice as many indirect jobs by workers employed in building needed equipment and providing supplies and services.

    In addition, the State will receive royalties and taxes from Pebble which will do much to offset the budgetary crises.

  • You’re missing the point, Steve. The fact that China controls much of the supply chain for rare earths and critical minerals and is aggressively inimical to the interests of the United States means that we are held ransom to the whims of China, who may choose to cut off our supply whenever they feel so inclined. We need these materials to be mined and developed here, where environmental standards are highest, not abroad.

    As to Northern Dynasty being foreign-owned, most of its shareholders are American and the profits will flow through to those shareholders. Should Teck be forced to sell Red Dog because it is a Canadian company, like Northern Dynasty? Should Rio Tinto be forced to sell the Bingham Canyon mine because it is a foreign company. Should Toyota and Mercedes Benz be prohibited from selling their cars in the U.S.?

  • I remember reading an ADN article a few years ago about how suddenly there was a surge in mining activity in Alaska despite metal prices not significantly changing. The reporter writing the article had no idea why. It kind of helps when the President of the US isn’t at war with your industry.

  • Trump turning America into a 3rd world country, foreign corporations will come in and mine with few safe guards to protect water and land, export all of the profits and leave America with the mess to clean up.

    • Don’t let facts or reason cloud you hate for Trump. Good parrot, here is a cracker. This cracker paid for by the DNC. lol

  • Go, Pebble! Go, mining! Get rurals off of welfare!

  • Our youthful generation of neo-Communists will have to get used to living without their smart phones and video games. They’ll have to when China cuts off the supply of the critical materials used to make them.

    See, there IS an upside to their crusade! It will be great fun to watch them thumb bricks in hope of contacting someone….anyone..;………..

  • I could care less about what Bluto did or did not sign because he is soon to be handcuffed.

    I’m commenting on the lovely vid of Sara who seems to be on some sort of mood enhancing drug. I’ll have to say at least it toned down the screeching harpy that she actually is, thankfully, so whatever drug it is makes it at minimum, lestenable. However, it lowered her I.Q. to that of a toddler. “See my house! That’s my house!” MK.

    That anyone can think that that vid is of value, useful or otherwise worthwhile needs a head doctor.

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