Energy & Environment

Trump admin: US reliance on foreign minerals ‘shocking’

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The Trump administration released a report Tuesday concluding that the United States is highly dependent on foreign imports for many critical minerals.

The report from the Interior Department’s U.S. Geological Survey found that the nation is 100 percent dependent on foreign imports for 20 key minerals, and China is often the main producer of the minerals.

The administration is using the report to sound an alarm bell and push for more mining and extraction of such minerals domestically, especially on federal land.

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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke called the findings “shocking.”

“The fact that previous administrations allowed the United States to become reliant on foreign nations, including our competitors and adversaries, for minerals that are so strategically important to our security and economy is deeply troubling,” he said. “As both a former military commander and geologist, I know the very real national security risk of relying on foreign nations for what the military needs to keep our soldiers and our homeland safe.”

The minerals the report examined include selenium, gallium, beryllium, cobalt, platinum-group elements and rare-earth elements.

Those minerals are critical for applications like defense, high-end electronics and motor vehicles’ catalytic converters, USGS said.

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, echoed Zinke’s conclusions.

“A country blessed with abundant mineral resources shouldn’t be mineral-dependent and vulnerable. This is an economic and security threat that’s festered across administrations for too long,” he said in a statement, pledging to work to boost mineral extraction.

Tags Interior Department Rob Bishop Ryan Zinke

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