Murkowski Welcomes Critical Mineral List

February 16, 2018

Key Step in Efforts to Reduce United States’ Foreign Mineral Dependence

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today welcomed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s release of a draft list of critical minerals, which are important to the U.S. economy and national security but increasingly imported from foreign nations. 

“I thank Secretary Zinke for his recognition of the dangers of our foreign mineral dependence and his continued efforts to strengthen our nation’s mineral security,” Murkowski said. “This list provides a good starting point as we seek to develop more of the minerals that are fundamental to energy, defense, agriculture, and many other technologies that make up the foundation of our modern society.”

The United States is deeply dependent on foreign nations for a wide array of minerals. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the U.S. imported 100 percent of its supply of 21 different minerals in 2017, and at least 50 percent of its supply of 50 minerals. Examples include rare earth elements (100 percent foreign dependent), graphite (100 percent foreign dependent) and niobium (100 percent dependent).  13817

Secretary Zinke’s draft list is the result of Executive Order 13817, which was signed by President Trump in December 2017. The Order directed USGS to identify minerals that are critical to national defense and the economy. The draft list released today will be open for a 30-day public comment period and, once finalized, utilized by multiple federal agencies to develop a strategy to reduce the United States’ foreign mineral dependence.

Murkowski is chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and a strong proponent of strengthening U.S. mineral security. She has introduced bipartisan legislation calling for the U.S. to develop and maintain a list of minerals that are important in use, but subject to potential supply disruption—very much in line with the list released today.