I have an idea for an item to be placed on the President’s agenda to promote the security, self-sufficiency, economic well being and energy independence of the United States. I have written out the idea in the form of a specific first “bill” of its type to be introduced into the U.S. Congress. Although I have identified a real company and a real national laboratory in the body of the proposed bill, I intend this proposal to be general and for its funding and support to be open to any qualified domestic American mining exploration company and any national laboratory or agency that the Congress may specify to support in the national interest. I would also hope that language could be written to include the mining exploration companies of America’s neighbors and friends as recipients of such support.
I am not a lobbyist, nor do I own any interest in any mining company anywhere. I also do not know any members of the U.S. Congress. Nonetheless, as a concerned private citizen, I hope someone in the Congress or the executive branch of the U.S. Government will read this proposal and come forward to discuss it. I note, also, that I am not a lawyer or a professional legislative draftsman, although I did study legislative drafting nearly 40 years ago while attending the University of Detroit School of Law.
The Critical Metals and Minerals Independence and Security Acts of 2009 – Part I: The Rare Earth Metals and Thorium
Whereas it is necessary at all times to maintain the economic well being and security of the United States, it is therefore necessary to ensure that, whenever and wherever possible, both the civilian and the military industrial bases of the United States have an uninterrupted supply of raw materials, produced as much as possible from domestic primary resources, and be as little reliant, or not be reliant at all, for such raw materials on foreign sources of supply, and
Whereas it has become recognized that many less common metals, for example those known as the rare earths and thorium, and many less common minerals are critical to modern technologies, which means that the technologies cannot be built at all without the use of certain of these less common metals and/or less common minerals, so that as a class these metals and minerals have come to be classed as critical metals and minerals, and
Whereas it is important to the economic and military security of the United States that domestic resources of critical metals and minerals be developed, whenever possible, in quantities that lead to domestic self-sufficiency, and
Whereas it is therefore vital to the economic health, welfare and security of the United States that the metals and minerals critical for its economic well being and military security, which are present within the continental United States, be identified, cataloged as to their practical availability, produced, and stockpiled as rapidly as possible, and
Whereas this means that after the identification of such critical minerals and metals 1) The exploration for them, 2) The development of mining and refining processes for them, and 3) Methods for storing them in useful forms must be supported by the United States Government as a matter of urgent national priority, which means that it is understood that there is a time-based priority for the development of individual critical metals and minerals, as they are not being used in equal proportions simultaneously, so that
Therefore, there is an urgent need for the government of the United States to adopt the prioritization, in time, of the supply of critical metals and minerals both for private industry and for the 21st century military as identified by the National Academies and published in two separate studies: 1) Minerals, Critical Minerals, and the U.S. Economy (2008) and 2) Managing Materials for a Twenty-first Century Military (2008), which publications catalog the metals and their uses that are likely to bring about economic or security crises if their supply is interrupted and which publications include charts showing that the most likely metals and minerals to be interrupted are always those for which the United States relies all or in the most part upon imports from politically unstable or unfriendly foreign nations and further show that such import reliance on politically unstable or unfriendly nations for critical metals and minerals is increasing dramatically.
Therefore, as a starting point based on the results of both of those studies, this act shall identify and encompass the development of domestic resources of the rare earth metals, scandium, yttrium, lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, lutetium and thorium as an urgent priority, and
Therefore, the Congress shall adopt the identification of the domestic resources of the rare earth metals and thorium as located and certified and to be revised and published, in the case of the rare earths, in May 2009, by the USGS, within the data in Rare Earths Statistics and Information, and in the case of thorium already published, as of March 31, 2009, within Thorium Statistics and Information, and
Therefore, Congress shall note in particular that it is identified in the Thorium Statistics and Information, cited above, that the largest known deposit of primary thorium ore in the United States is certified and verified to be within the State of Idaho and is owned by a private company, Thorium Energy Inc., 100% of the ownership of which is held by American citizens. Further, the Congress shall note that said Idaho deposits of thorium are commingled with large deposits of rare earths, the details of which will be noted in the above mentioned update of the Rare Earth Statistics and Information update to be published in May 2009 by the USGS.
In furtherance of the purpose of this act, Congress shall appropriate the initial sum of $500 million to be used to: 1) fund the exploration for new domestic sources of rare earths and thorium, 2) fund the study of the extent of domestic resources of rare earths and thorium already identified by the USGS, 3) fund the development of process technologies for the refining of existing domestic ore bodies of rare earths and thorium, and 4) fund the study of storage technologies, if necessary, for the stockpiling of the most appropriate forms of rare earths and thorium, and to achieve these goals
Congress shall create and additionally fund a center for the study of critical metals and minerals as an adjunct to the National Laboratories, operated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, already extant in the State of Idaho and, further, Congress shall mandate that from this time forward any commercial facility built, or upon which construction has begun after the effective date of this act, within the continental United States or its territories by any foreign-owned entity for the processing of domestic American ores for critical metals or minerals of any kind as defined by this act but in particular for the processing of ores and concentrates of rare earths and thorium, as defined in this act, or as identified for the purpose of this act by the POTUS, shall be required to agree to process and to process related and appropriate domestic ores of rare earths and thorium from any domestic American source as a service for which the charge is to be at actual cost, as determined by the Inspector general of the GAO, plus a fair “profit” to be determined by a binding arbitration where the arbitrator has been appointed by the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Defense as the exact situation warrants.
Further, as of the effective date of this act no rare earths or thorium ores, concentrates, or finished goods, or any critical metals or minerals as defined herein shall be exported from the United States by any private entity, domestic or foreign, without a license issued by the Department of the Interior or the Department of Defense, and, further, such licenses shall specify the quantity as well as the type of critical metal or mineral as well as the end-use intended, and
Further, no device intended for military use needing a critical metal or mineral shall, from the date of the passage of this act, be built using an imported critical metal or mineral until it is determined by the Secretary of Defense that no domestic source for the said critical metal or mineral exists, and in the event that such a source exists, but is not developed, the United States shall guarantee the necessary financing of the domestic source for any competent company seeking financing to develop the resource if such development is at all possible and not prohibited under the laws and regulations of the United States.