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National Strategic and Critical Minerals bill passed

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World Cement,

As of 22 October, the US House of Representatives has passed the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2015 by a vote of 254 – 177. The bill included sand, gravel and minerals necessary for transportation infrastructure construction in the definition of strategic and critical minerals, despite efforts by some lawmakers to pass an amendment that would have them deleted. This outcome reflects the opinion of the NSSGA, which strongly urged that the amendment be voted down, emphasising the importance of having easy access to aggregates in order to repair and rebuild transportation infrastructure quickly following natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy.

“We are pleased that the House has once again passed legislation that recognises aggregates are essential to transportation infrastructure, particularly in times of natural disaster,” said Pam Whitted, NSSGA senior vice president for legislative and regulatory affairs. “Actions to further restrict development of these essential construction materials threaten stable supplies of them.”

The bill is designed to expedite the permitting to produce domestic sources of minerals of strategic and critical importance to national security and economic and manufacturing competitiveness.

U.S. Senate Energy Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has introduced a Senate version of the legislation, S. 883, The American Mineral Security Act of 2015. The bill would establish a tool to identify critical mineral market factors helping to avoid supply shortages. It also calls upon U.S. Geological Survey director to develop a methodology for determining which minerals qualify as critical minerals, and review the minerals every two years. It is uncertain when the committee will mark-up the bill.

Adapted from press release by

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