Fast tracking expansion of America’s critical mineral production
The Assn. of American State Geologists blog posted the following on President Trump’s executive order to devise “a strategy to reduce the Nation’s reliance on critical minerals.”
From the AASG blog, “A Presidential executive order on a federal strategy to ensure secure and reliable supplies of critical minerals, issued December 20, 2017, includes the assertion that the USA is limited by a lack of comprehensive, machine-readable data concerning topographical, geological, and geophysical surveys. Among several actions, the order calls for a plan to improve the topographic, geologic, and geophysical mapping of the United States and make the resulting data and metadata electronically accessible.”
Director of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, immediately ordered a series of actions to assure critical mineral independence and security commensurate with Trump’s Executive Order.
- Direct the United States Geological Survey to:
- Identify new sources of critical minerals;
- Ensure that our miners and producers have electronic access to the most advanced topographic, geologic, and geophysical data, with appropriate limitations to protect critical infrastructure data such as those related to national security areas
- Direct the Bureau of Land Management and USGS to within 30 days provide a list of minerals defined as "critical minerals" to the Secretary of the Interior. Within 30 days after receiving the list of critical minerals from the BLM and USGS, the Secretary will coordinate with the Department of Defense and consult with the heads of other relevant agencies and departments to establish the final list.
- Within 60 days of the completion of the critical minerals list, provide a plan to the Secretary to improve the topographic, geological, and geophysical mapping of the United States, and make the resulting data and metadata electronically accessible to support private sector mineral exploration of critical minerals.
- Within 60 days of the signing of the Executive Order, each bureau head with land management responsibilities shall submit to the Secretary a list of recommendations to streamline permitting and review processes related to developing leases, accessing critical mineral resources, and increasing critical mineral discovery, production, and domestic refining.
- Within 60 days of the signing of the Executive Order, each bureau head with land management responsibilities shall submit to the Secretary a list of recommended options for improving access and developing critical minerals.
Acknowledgments. AZGS thanks Steve Masterman for sharing this summary of the Secretary of the Interior’s Order No 3359.