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Representative Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) recently reintroduced the Resource Assessment of Rare Earths (RARE) Act of 2013 [H.R. 981], which directs the U.S. Geological Survey to conduct a three-year, comprehensive global mineral assessment of rare earth elements (REEs). Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), a national leader on energy and the environment and Ranking Member on the House Natural Resources Committee, is the lead original cosponsor of the bill.
Critical to high-tech clean-energy and defense manufacturing, rare earth elements are strategic minerals used in the production of cutting-edge technologies such as wind turbines, advanced batteries, powerful magnets, and military radar systems.
China reportedly accounts for 97% of global rare earth element production and has demonstrated a willingness to restrict REE exports. The Chinese monopoly is a strategic vulnerability for the U.S. that could undermine national security and competitiveness in the defense and clean-energy sectors.
“Like President Obama, I am committed to a future powered by clean energy,” said Johnson. “Without secure access to rare earth elements, we will be unable to lead the world in cleantech. The RARE Act will dramatically advance our ability to access rare earths worldwide.”
The USGS global assessment, conducted with geological surveys of partner nations around the world, intends to identify and quantify individual rare earth elements in known deposits, improve understanding of the distribution and formation of rare earth element deposits, assess likely undiscovered deposits worldwide, analyze the state of the complete rare earths supply chain from mining to manufacturing, and recommend further research and steps to improve understanding and ensure access.
For additional information, visit http://hankjohnson.house.gov.