March 31, 2022

Manchin: The United States Must Lead A North American Energy Alliance To Meet the Free World's Energy and Mineral Demands

Manchin urges the Administration to remove barriers and encourage the responsible mining and refining of critical minerals in America

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing domestic critical mineral mining, processing, refining and reprocessing. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Committee, raised concerns about the free world’s reliance on adversarial nations like Russia and China for their energy and critical minerals supply chains. The Chairman also highlighted the importance of collaborating with our continental neighbors in a North American energy alliance to strengthen our collective supply chains and minimize vulnerabilities to those nations that might use supply chain dependencies against us.

“I am also extremely concerned with China as the gatekeeper of the critical materials we need for everyday life, in addition to the minerals crucial to energy and defense applications. It makes no sense to remain beholden to bad actors when we have abundant resources and manufacturing know-how here in the United States,” said Chairman Manchin. “…[T]his is another area we should lean on a North American energy alliance and work with our Canadian neighbors to source what doesn’t make sense to do domestically. And there is no reason the United States cannot utilize our manufacturing base and leverage our relationships with friendly nations, like Australia and Canada, to ensure that their critical minerals are sent here for processing instead of China. However, in order to accomplish this, we first need to establish our own domestic separation, processing and refining capabilities – and make sure we’re not exporting our own critical minerals for processing somewhere else.”

During the hearing, Chairman Manchin questioned witnesses about the strategic importance of a North American energy alliance.

“We should be looking at North America as the energy juggernaut of the world, [particularly together with Canada and Mexico.] How do you evaluate the supply risk from these allies as opposed to somewhere like Russia or China?” asked Chairman Manchin.

“I think that working together with allies like Canada could be incredibly strategic, especially in the short term for the United States. They’re building up all this infrastructure there and we could pull resources. They also have a very heavy focus on midstream production, battery component production, and materials,” said Ms. Abigail Wulf, Director of the Center for Critical Minerals Strategy at Securing America's Future Energy.

“It’s a very important issue. We take into account the ability and willingness of trade partners to supply in our critical minerals screening methodology. Clearly trade with reliable trade partners makes it a lot safer and more secure,” said Dr. Steve Fortier, Director of the U.S. Geological Survey National Minerals Information Center.

The hearing featured witnesses from the Securing America's Future Energy, Twin Metals Minnesota, U.S. Department of the Interior, Uranium Producers of America and West Virginia University. To read their testimony click here.

To watch the hearing in full, please 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.