Press Releases

Idaho Delegation Encourages Secure Supply Chains for Critical Minerals

Idaho Delegation Encourages Secure Supply Chains for Critical Minerals

By Senator Risch, Senator Crapo, Representative Simpson, and Representative Fulcher

Washington, D.C. – “Together, as Idaho’s Congressional delegation, we express our grave concern with the vulnerability of supply chains and the long-term implications if we do not act now to develop a secure supply chain of critical minerals. In light of the aggression shown by our adversaries, supply chain security is more important than ever.

“Our nation is at a crossroads; Russia has invaded Ukraine. At the same time, China continues to use economic coercion to control global markets and shape countries’ political decisions. With Congress’ support, this Administration must take drastic and targeted measures to ensure our nation takes the right path to advance U.S. competitiveness and maintain a strong position in domestic and foreign markets, including critical minerals production.

“Critical minerals are vital to the emerging technologies that will underpin the future economic well-being and prosperity of this nation. In recognition of these important minerals, under President Trump, the Department of Interior developed a list of 35 critical minerals, a process that Congress later codified. That list, just last week, expanded to 50. Our home state of Idaho is rich in many of these minerals—some of which are fundamental to energy and national security applications—such as antimony and cobalt.

“Antimony and cobalt serve as critical components in grid storage batteries, and other electrification implements essential to providing reliable energy sources to American homes and businesses. In addition to its energy contribution, antimony serves as a critical component of ammunition, armaments, and other national security platforms. Although these minerals serve as essential components in highly utilized U.S. products, 53 percent of antimony comes from China, and another 23 percent comes from Russia. Most cobalt is sourced from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where the Chinese government has subsidized companies that engage in non-transparent practices, dominate the industry, and undermine the prosperity and rights of the Congolese.

“Aside from mineral production, Idaho is responsible for cutting-edge mineral research. We are proud to be the home of the Idaho National Lab, the nation’s premier nuclear energy laboratory, whose research is paramount to any future clean energy strategy. Unfortunately, the Biden Administration chose to remove uranium from the critical minerals list, which leaves the nation’s nuclear fleet even more reliant on Russian fuel.

“As tensions rise with Russia and the potential of additional sanctions loom, China will look to take advantage of the void left by Russia’s isolation in the market. While we need to take strong actions on Russia, the reality is that we source many of our raw minerals from them. As we tighten our grip on their financial system and exports, we must prioritize domestic sourcing and reduce our reliance on countries like Russia and China. 

“The time is now for this Administration to take real action to prioritize a strong domestic supply chain for these essential minerals. We do not want to compromise any of our environmental or other standards. We are simply calling on the Administration to prioritize the timely completion of the permits of currently proposed projects so we may take back control of a fundamental piece of many of our essential industries: critical minerals production.”