For Immediate Release
May 18, 2018
Contact: Anthony Roeber (509) 624-1158

AEMA Recommends Expansion of Critical Minerals List

The Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Final Critical Minerals List was published in the Federal Register on May 18, 2018.  The list is identical to the draft list of 35 critical minerals published for public comment on February 16, 2018, despite numerous comments supporting an expanded list.  The American Exploration & Mining Association (AEMA) has recommended the list should be expanded to include copper, gold, silver, zinc, phosphate, nickel and lead. AEMA has also advocated for host or gateway minerals to be included in the list. DOI recognized the importance of host or gateway minerals in the Federal Register Notice of the final list, stating:

“The Department of the Interior recognizes that many commodities are not mined directly, but are instead recovered during the processing, smelting, or refining of a host material and are, therefore, deemed ‘byproducts.’ Of the 35 minerals deemed critical, 12 are byproducts. Therefore, strategies to increase the domestic supply of these commodities must necessarily consider the mining and processing of the host materials because enhanced recovery of byproducts alone may be insufficient to meet U.S. consumption.”

The Notice also specifically acknowledges the “economic significance and indispensable nature” of other minerals, such as copper, zinc, molybdenum, gold, silver and phosphate that are not included on the list since they are “produced domestically in large quantities.”

“The Trump Administration is on the right track to recognize the importance of critical minerals in the American Economy. However, the time is ripe to complete the task and end our foreign dependence when we are ready to responsibly mine here at home. $9.2 Billion and 16,500 jobs are waiting to be unleashed benefiting rural economies,” said Laura Skaer, AEMA Executive Director.

The list of critical minerals, while “final,” is not a permanent list, but will be dynamic and updated periodically to reflect current data on supply, demand, and concentration of production, as well as current policy priorities. AEMA will continue to advocate for expansion of the list and also to ensure that permitting reforms are applied across the board to all minerals and not just those included on a snapshot-in-time list.