Infrastructure and Jobs act: Critical Minerals

Last updated: 12 December 2023

Since 2021, President Biden has described the development of domestic supply chains for critical minerals as a national priority, including through energy and minerals research.
The U.S. Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act allocates funding for critical minerals extraction, pilot projects for processing, and research activities. Three primary provisions focused on research, development and demonstration for critical minerals are allocated a total budget of USD 407 million.
Sec. 40204. US Geological Survey energy and minerals research facility
The section directs the US Geological Survey to fund a facility to support energy and minerals research in collaboration with an academic partner.
This funding is part of a larger administration objective of developing domestic supply chains for critical minerals.
Sec. 40205. Rare earth elements demonstration facility
The section directs the Secretary of Energy to fund a facility to demonstrate the commercial feasibility of a rare earth element extraction and separation facility and refinery in collaboration with an academic partner. The facility will be designed to separate and refine mixed rare earth oxides derived from acid mine drainage and mine waste into pure oxides and metals of rare earth elements.
The Department of Energy has since issued a Request for Information from industry, investors, developers, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and potentially affected communities on the design, construction, and operation of a demonstration facility
Sec 40210. Critical minerals mining and recycling research
The section directs the Secretary of Energy, in coordination with the Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), to issue grants to support research on critical minerals mining, recycling, and reclamation strategies and technologies to make better use of domestic resources and to eliminate national reliance on minerals and mineral materials that are subject to supply disruptions. The section also indicates that the Critical Minerals Subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council must coordinate federal science and technology efforts to ensure secure and reliable supplies of critical minerals to the United States.
Sec 40401. Department of Energy loan programs 
This section amends the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to expand the innovative energy loan guarantee program to include projects that increase supply of domestically produced critical minerals as well as those that invest in manufacturing zero-carbon technologies for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, trains, aircraft, and marine transportation as eligible project categories. 
Including projects that increase the supply of domestically produced critical minerals in the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program will increase funding for projects that are essential to securing a domestic critical mineral supply chain and achieving energy transitions.

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