U.S. Government Looks to Wenden, Arizona to Help End Reliance on China for Critical Minerals
WASHINGTON D.C. - Today the United States Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) announced that it has awarded American Manganese Inc. (AMY) a grant to perform work on the United States Government’s manganese ore stockpile located near Wenden, Arizona, with the goal of producing electrolytic manganese metal (EMM) for the nation. AMY will conduct tests of the Wenden stockpile to confirm the viability of using the Company’s patented hydrometallurgical process to recover EMM from the stockpile. If successful, the DLA, together with AMY, will proceed to transform sub-economic manganese resources into a valuable source of EMM.
“As a Member of Congress, it is seldom that I see such a clearly amazing opportunity,” said Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ). “The successful execution of this project could transform an unwanted stockpile of low-grade material, long ago paid for by the U.S. taxpayer, into a National Defense Stockpile stockpile material (EMM). The U.S. simply cannot remain dependent on Chinese supply chains — particularly when electrolytic manganese metal is a designated strategic defense mineral. The proposed project is a strong first step towards advancing a durable American source of supply."
Our reliance on China for critical minerals has long been a national security threat to Americans. The COVID pandemic has only accelerated the reality of that threat. The U.S. simply cannot remain dependent on Chinese supply chains. Last month, President Trump issued Executive Order 13953 “Addressing the Threat to the Domestic Supply Chain From Reliance on Critical Minerals From Foreign Adversaries and Supporting the Domestic Mining and Processing Industries.”
One such critical mineral necessary for National Defense is "manganese." At present, U.S. manganese production is zero, as a nation we are 100% import-dependent, with China being the world’s largest producer. According to USGS, there has been no U.S. manganese production since 1973.
Wenden, Arizona happens to have one of the nation’s most significant low-grade raw manganese ore stockpiles-approximately 322,000 metric tons. That stockpile was purchased by the U.S. government in the 1950s-through 1960s. However, due to its low-grade, as well as requirements for a specialized processing method to efficiently transform the raw manganese into useful forms of advanced manganese material, the Wenden stockpile has gone virtually unused - until now.
Recently, the National Defense Stockpile added an acquisitions order for EMM for various advanced defense uses. Our office immediately seized this opportunity to advocate for the immediate use of the Wendon Stockpile. I wrote a letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, David Bernhardt, which you can read HERE. I also wrote a letter to the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency - Strategic Materials, which you can read HERE.
“If enacted, this project will make Wenden the hub for American manganese for decades to come, building a high-tech metal processing facility, bringing many high paying jobs and may allow America to explore or produce other domestic manganese mining.” Gosar continued, “The action will give the U.S. our first domestic source of manganese since 1973, cut at the heart of Chinese dominance and make our nation more independent and secure. This is how America can fight back and bring jobs and mineral security home.”
Congratulations to the citizens of Wenden and to American Manganese Inc. This is a big win for Arizona, a big win for the American people, and a major step toward ending their reliance on China.
You can read the official press release from American Manganese Inc. HERE.