$2.3T Pandemic Aid, Government Spending Package Includes Rare Earths Research Funds

Late last year, President Donald Trump signed a $2.3 trillion pandemic aid and government funding package that included more than $800 million in funds for rare earths research and development.

Trump signed an executive order in September 2020 calling out the threat to dependence on foreign sources of critical minerals. The president also signed a similar executive order in 2017 that called for the secretary of the interior to identify critical minerals. Ultimately, the process produced a list of 35 critical minerals.

Section 7001 of the 5,593-page bill outlines funding related to critical minerals.

The bill text calls for the secretary of energy to “develop and assess advanced separation technologies for the extraction and recovery 17 of rare earth elements and other critical materials from coal and coal byproducts” and “determine if there are, and mitigate, 20 any potential environmental or public health impacts that could arise from the recovery of rare 22 earth elements from coal-based resources.”

The bill called for authorization to appropriate $23 million for the aforementioned efforts in fiscal years 2021 and 2022.

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