Biden Admin Moves To Fund Foreign Mining Projects After Blocking Domestic Mines: REPORT

(Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

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Jack McEvoy Energy & Environment Reporter
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The Biden administration may fund 12 critical mineral mining projects in foreign countries to advance its climate agenda despite continuously impeding domestic mining ventures, Axios reported Monday.

Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth Energy and the Environment Jose Fernandez told Axios that the government is considering funding “around a dozen” overseas mining, mineral processing and recycling projects as President Joe Biden looks to secure more critical minerals which are needed to manufacture green energy technologies. However, the Biden administration has previously worked to block large mining projects in both Alaska and Minnesota, citing environmental concerns. (RELATED: GOP Lawmakers Call For ‘Investigation’ Into Chinese Firm’s Potential Stake In Key Nevada Lithium Mine)

“Joe Biden continues to put foreign jobs over American jobs,” Minnesota Rep. Pete Stauber, the top Republican on the Natural Resources Energy and Mineral Subcommittee, told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement. “This activist Administration is pushing an energy transition, which requires minerals.”

The federal Export-Import Bank and the Development Finance Corporation, which is bankrolling a nickel mine in Brazil, will provide the funds to aid overseas mining developments, Axios reported. The Biden administration will use the Mineral Security Partnership, a global partnership that seeks to expedite the procurement of critical minerals, and will work with Canada, the U.K., the European Union and other allies to fund foreign mines.

On Dec. 2, The Environmental Protection Agency recommended preventing operators of Southwestern Alaska’s Pebble Mine from disposing of waste material in the nearby Bristol Bay, a regulation that would prevent the mine from opening. Over a 20-year period, the mine could extract about 1.5 billion tons of copper, molybdenum as well as other critical minerals that are needed to create solar panels and geothermal energy facilities, according to a report published by Northern Dynasty Minerals, the mine’s owner.

“We have an abundance in the United States, including in the Duluth Complex in my district which alone contains 95% of America’s nickel, 88% of our cobalt, and more than a third of our copper,” Stauber said. “For political reasons, the Biden Administration won’t allow domestic mining.”

The Gossan reservoir at the Riotinto mines in Minas de Riotinto, near of Huelva on September 30, 2022. (Photo by JORGE GUERRERO/AFP via Getty Images)

The Department of the Interior in January revoked permits for two Twin Metals mines in Minnesota, stating that mining operations could contaminate a nearby watershed, according to a department press release. The mines would have produced copper, nickel and cobalt, metals that are essential in producing wind turbines and green energy batteries.

Mining advocates and GOP lawmakers have stated that environmental regulations and the burdensome permitting process are causing the U.S. to lag behind its competitors in the hunt for minerals. It can take up to 10 years for a company to receive approval to begin mining, one of the longest global wait times worldwide, according to the National Mining Association.

“On behalf of the American worker, I will hold this Administration accountable,” Stauber said.

Biden wants to generate all of the country’s electricity from green energy by 2035, up from just 40% in 2020, according to a White House fact sheet. In March, he invoked The Defense Production Act in order to shore up green energy supply chains that China and other hostile nations have dominated for years.

The State Department and the White House did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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