US Lawmakers Unveil Bill to End Dependence on Imported Rare Earth Minerals

U.S. legislators recently set in motion a bipartisan bill whose objective is to reduce America’s dependence on rare earth elements that China provides for the country. These rare earth elements include erbium (Er), cerium (Ce), europium (Eu), dysprosium (Dy), gadolinium (Gd), praseodymium (Pr), lanthanum (La), holmium (Ho), lutetium (Lu), neodymium (Nd), promethium (Pm), scandium (Sc), terbium (Tb), samarium (Sm), ytterbium (Yb), yttrium (Y) and thulium (Tm). They are commonly found in minerals that contain thorium (Th) and less often, uranium (U).

These elements are used in many gadgets and equipment, such as rechargeable batteries for hybrid and electric cars, computers, advanced ceramics, DVD players, lasers, wind turbines, super conductors, fiber optics and many more. This makes these elements to be crucial to many sectors, like the telecommunications, defense and the renewable energy sector.

Apart from the uses mentioned above, they are also essential for missile defense systems, missile guidance systems, satellites- this only increases the debate on the monopoly that China has over the substances.

This bill, which was authored by Democrat Vicente Gonzalez and Republican Lance, is similar to another legislation that was introduced in May of this year by Senator Rafael Edward Cruz.

Democrat Henry Cuellar and Republicans Pete Olson, Will Hurd, Randy Weber and Roger Williams are the bi-partisan bill’s co-sponsors.

This move will offer tax incentives for mining firms as well as other companies who are involved in the recycling and reclamation of essential metals and minerals from the U.S. mineral deposits.

The CEO of USA Rare Earth, Pini Althaus, states that this tax incentive will provide equal opportunities for various firms, with respect to the subsidies that China provides for the U.S. This would improve the fundamental factors of domestic projects on rare earth elements considerably.

The bipartisan caucus was launched by the House of Representatives in July to grow the output of key minerals as the China and U.S. trade relations got strained.

The Department of Energy in the US also recently declared its proposal that seeks to dispense $20million in financing that will be used for basic research. The research’s aim is to assess the accessibility of various rare earth elements in the country.

The US isn’t the only country seeking to reduce its reliance on China for rare earth elements. In August, Russia revealed its $1.5billion investment in rare earth minerals.

Analysts say mining companies like GoldHaven Resources Corp. (CSE: GOH) (OTCQB: ATUMF) are looking forward to the day when the bill before Congress is passed and enacted.

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