Manchin, ENR Examine U.S. Critical Mineral Security And REEACT

May 14, 2019

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s opening remarks, please click here.

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s questioning, please click here.

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, questioned Dr. Paul Ziemkiewicz, Director of the West Virginia Water Institute at West Virginia University about critical mineral production in West Virginia.

“In West Virginia, we have an awful lot of streams pre-SMCRA (Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act), that you’re probably looking at and dealing with. Are you basing your estimates on if we produced in all the streams that we know have acid mine drainage ... Is that where you’re getting 800 tons that you’re anticipating…” Senator Manchin asked.

 “800 tons is the number of discharges that we actually sampled, so these were largely regulated discharges as opposed to the unregulated discharges. We reckon there are something like 5 gallons of unregulated AML discharge for every gallon of regulated discharge in Northern and Central Appalachia,” Dr. Ziemkiewicz said.

Senator Manchin also questioned Dr. John Warner, Chairman of the National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Batteries, about the impact proposed Chinese tariffs will have on consumers. 

 “Let me ask a question about tariffs and what tariffs are going to do. China very much has a monopoly on rare earth elements that we’re using every day. Do you see an impact so far, has it affected you all and do you anticipate an effect?” Senator Manchin asked.

“That’s an excellent question, Senator. As of today we haven’t seen the impacts but I’m looking to buy cells so with our new company as we buy cells globally that will make them more expensive which will make our end products more expensive. The raw materials are still likely being processed in Asia for those Asian cell manufactures so we’ll receive them as a completed unit as a lithium battery. And as the tariffs are added it will make it more expensive for us to acquire them which will make it more expensive for our customers down the line,” said Dr. Warner.

The hearing also featured witnesses from the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and Lithium Americas.  

To watch the hearing in full, please click here.