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Carl: America’s mineral resources are critical to national security

The demand for critical minerals across the globe is projected to increase rapidly in the coming years. Largely driven by the push to move toward more electric vehicles and a higher demand for renewable energy resources, the market for these minerals is projected to grow rapidly. America has vast mineral reserves that we can and should utilize, and we can do so in a way that is safe, clean and provides good paying jobs.

Unfortunately, the Biden administration has been at war with American mining and is doing all it can to prevent the growth of the industry domestically. This not only kills American jobs but it also increases our reliance on other countries. Currently, the vast majority of our critical minerals are being imported from China. These are minerals that are hugely important to modern life because they form essential components in equipment we use every day. This includes our smartphones and tablets, electric vehicles, wind and solar technologies, our defense systems, and countless medical devices. It should go without saying how dangerous and risky it is for us to rely on a country like China to provide us with basic materials we need for everyday life.

Last week, I joined Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minn.), Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), and several other colleagues on a visit to the Duluth Complex, which is a world-class mineral deposit in Northern Minnesota. The Duluth Complex contains nearly 8 billion tons of copper, nickel, cobalt and platinum group metals. These are some of the minerals in high demand due to their use in batteries, electric vehicles and several other growing markets. Despite this, the Biden administration has been actively working to cancel existing leases for a mine in the Duluth Complex.

Northern Minnesota is just one example of our nation’s vast mineral reserves. In fact, Coosa County, Alabama, is home to a 42,000-acre graphite project, which is the most advanced graphite project in the United States. This project has great potential due to its vast reserves and the huge demand for graphite in batteries. Just like the Duluth Complex, The Coosa Graphite Project has the resources to be a major supplier of our country’s mineral needs, while ensuring we have secure supply chains and scale back our reliance on China.

Alabama is already a leader in electric vehicle manufacturing, and our manufacturers need the minerals from Minnesota and Alabama, rather than China or the Congo, to build cars. As the world – and the United States – move toward more electric vehicles and other renewable energy resources, the demand for these minerals will skyrocket, and we can’t afford to continue allowing China to dominate these markets. The United States has the capabilities, the workforce, and the resources to dominate global mineral supply chains, instead of allowing China to dominate. Now is the time for the Biden administration to put America first by empowering American workers to unleash our mineral resources and end our dependence on China.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

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