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National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. HOLT. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I might consume.

My friend on the other side of the aisle says that, evidently, the agencies that are reviewing these massive projects, projects that can permanently degrade the environment, permanently degrade the environment, hurt public health, affect communities, they're doing it just to be mean to the mining interests.

No, I don't think so. They are charged with protecting the lands that belong to Americans, the health of Americans, and the long-term welfare of the communities.

Now, as for China, let's talk about China. We should be talking about China. We should be concerned about what happens to the rare-earth minerals around the world and in this country being locked up by China.

Talk to any business searching the venture capital community for start-up funding, and one of the first things that they will be asked is, what is your China plan, because if you don't have a China plan, you won't be very successful.

The bill that we're considering today, once again, shows that Republicans, in their eagerness to have giveaways for the mining industry, are wandering in total darkness when it comes to developing a strategy for dealing with China.

In the Findings section of the bill before us it says:

The industrialization of China and India has driven demand for nonfuel mineral commodities, sparking a period of resource nationalism exemplified by China's reduction in exports of rare-earth elements.

True. And these are the rare-earth elements that are necessary for telecommunications and military technologies and health care technologies and conventional energy and renewable energy technologies.

So what would this bill do about China's export restrictions?

What would this bill do to ensure that China not restrict exports of rare-earths to us, or that we keep the rare-earth elements in this country to be used as strategic input to these strategic industries?


I have news for my colleagues. We do, in the United States, produce rare-earth. We mine and concentrate rare-earth elements. The Molycorp facility in California mines one of the richest rare-earth deposits in the world. They're ramping up to 40,000 tons of production by next year. That will be a quarter of the global production.

But guess what? Guess where they are sending much of that production? Yes, China. That's right. Our rare-earths will go to China to be refined into alloys and metals. And there they will stay, if the Chinese Government so determines, for Chinese high-tech manufacturers. What are we doing about that in this legislation? Nothing.

So why are we doing this legislation first when the bigger problem is how are we going to have a reliable supply of these strategic minerals.

The Republican solution is, China, we waived our environmental laws. We're going to turn these out faster and faster from these public lands that belong to the American people. We'll send them to you, China, so you can refine them. And please send them back to us.

I reserve the balance of my time.


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