United States Considers Draft Critical Mineral List

United States Considers Draft Critical Mineral List

Aluminum has critical uses across almost all American industries — but more than half the aluminum in the world is produced in China. If the cost to purchase aluminum from China suddenly skyrocketed, it would have a considerable economic impact in the United States. Just one tariff from a major exporter could drive up costs in American manufacturing.

A list of minerals deemed critical to the American economy and national security, including aluminum, has been drafted in a move that could result in additional supply chain tracking requirements for U.S. manufacturers. The 35 critical minerals being considered serve essential functions in product manufacturing and face supply chain vulnerability  — and are largely found in sub-components directly purchased from suppliers.

Demand for these minerals has increased due to technological innovations, such as the use of cobalt in electric car and cell phone batteries. As innovation continues, so will dependence on these minerals, and without an adequate tracking process in place to ensure continuity in supply, developments and regular economic activity could experience a significant disruption.

During a 2017 hearing about the supply of critical minerals in the U.S. and the country’s increasing dependence on foreign sources, Senator Lisa Murkowski emphasized the importance of continued governmental work to move minerals policies forward. Senator Murkowski has introduced legislation to improve mineral security and advocates for the use of a tracking mechanism, which would help identify supply disruption in a timely manner and mitigate economic impacts.

Once the list of minerals has been formalized, reporting requirements for critical minerals could be introduced, meaning manufacturers may need to identify their use through material declarations collected from suppliers.

A comment period for the list, which invited suggestions for additions and subtractions, closed on March 19. The United States Geological Survey will move forward with the development of a plan to improve the topographical, geological and geophysical mapping of the U.S., while the Department of the Interior’s land management bureaus will develop recommendations to increase domestic critical mineral discovery, production and refining.

Assent Compliance partners with companies to survey their supply chains and collect the data needed to meet various product compliance regulations. With the Assent Compliance Platform, companies can identify specific materials in their products, track country of origin and easily produce reports. The platform scales to ensure companies can confidently adapt to changes in the compliance landscape.

For insights into how regulations surrounding critical minerals could impact your company, or for more information about how Assent can help you meet your compliance requirements, contact our team at info@assentcompliance.com