April 07, 2022

Manchin Leads Robust Discussion on Opportunities and Challenges to Domestic Critical Minerals Supply Chain

Manchin: We must secure a domestic critical minerals supply chain to meet growing demand and reduce our dependence on China

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on the scope and scale of critical mineral demand and recycling of critical minerals. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Committee, highlighted the need to responsibly develop a domestic critical minerals supply chain to meet growing demand and ensure America’s energy and national security.

“From the technologies needed to support military readiness and combat climate change to the cell phones in our pockets or the cars in our driveways, critical minerals are essential to life we lead and the technologies we have come to depend on. Accelerating their production and establishing secure and dependable supply chains is vital to our energy and national security,” said Chairman Manchin. “While [recent] actions [from both the President and Congress] are crucial steps forward, more action is going to be necessary to get supply chains – including mining, processing, manufacturing and more – where they need to be domestically to keep up with the growing demand for these critical minerals instead of increasing our reliance on China.”

During the hearing, Chairman Manchin urged industry leaders across the private sector to ensure the responsible sourcing of critical minerals, including by investing in recycling capabilities. The Chairman then questioned the witnesses on the steps their companies are taking to ensure they are reliably and ethically doing so.

“Industry truly needs to be the leader in securing reliable and ethically-sourced supplies for the materials that make up their products. Every company involved in the downstream manufacturing of products that contain critical minerals has a responsibility to know where their parts and materials are coming from. Companies must commit to building partnerships with domestic producers and material processors, and when they source overseas, transparency is a prerequisite. Manufacturing should be done with recycling in mind,” said Chairman Manchin. “Recycling provides a tremendous opportunity to avoid outsourcing the raw supply of critical minerals we need while creating new economic opportunities right here at home.”

Throughout the hearing, the witnesses pointed to President Biden’s invocation of the Defense Production Act as a critical step forward towards securing a domestic critical minerals supply chain, which the President issued after Chairman Manchin and a group of bipartisan senators called on him to do so.

“I want to personally thank you, Chairman Manchin, and Senators Murkowski, Risch and Cassidy for your letter to the President highlighting this issue… The Defense Production Act is a critical step in addressing our upstream critical minerals supply but equally important is ensuring we address the downstream components that these minerals and metals are used to manufacture today,” said Mr. JB Straubel, Founder and CEO, Redwood Materials.

“The Defense Production Act the President invoked, which was done at the request of both Democrats and Republicans on this committee, demonstrated the Administration’s intent to expand our capabilities and signal to the entire federal government a commitment to securing these supply chains. This is important to get right not only for economic reasons but to secure a stable supply chain that meets our values,” said Mr. Joe Britton, Executive Director, Zero Emission Transportation Association.

The hearing featured witnesses from the General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Group, Redwood Materials, U.S. Department of Energy, Wilson Center and Zero Emission Transportation Association. To read their testimony click here.

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.

To watch the hearing in full, please click here.