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On Wednesday, September 30, 2020 US President Trump signed an Executive Order on Addressing the Threat to the Domestic Supply Chain from Reliance on Critical Minerals from Foreign Adversaries. This intends to make America less reliant on foreign sources of important minerals.

This is of particular interest to Buffalo Tungsten as a producer of tungsten powder based in the United States. A diverse and stable supply of raw materials is important to our company. Buffalo Tungsten supplies customers in many countries, but we need access to raw materials in America in order to produce our products.

Rare earth metals receive specific mention in the executive order. It applies to other minerals on the Department of Interior’s list of critical minerals produced in May 2018. It also broadly applies to any minerals necessary to protect and preserve the economy and defense of the United States.

We wrote about tungsten as a strategic mineral a few months back. It is good to see action to encourage additional sources of these minerals. Although the executive order does not contain plans or programs, recognizing the problem is an important step in resolving it.

Executive Order Supports Mining and Mineral Processing

President Trump indicates that “the United States must broadly enhance its mining and processing capacity.” He also mentions that “by expanding and strengthening domestic mining and processing capacity today, we guard against the possibility of supply chain disruptions.” In addition to the strategic importance the President notes that “mining and mineral processing provide jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans.”

It will be interesting to see what will be done following the executive order to encourage these objectives. The global nature of the minerals market provides a need for greater efficiency if domestic production is to be competitive. American companies must apply better technology and innovation to the mining industry in order to lead the way. I look forward to the day when our supply chain starts and ends on American soil.