Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he is publicly thanking Chairman Doc Hastings, and Ranking Member Edward Markey of the Committee on Natural Resources, and Chairman Doug Lamborn of the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, for agreeing to a hearing on his seabed mining legislation. The bill, H.R. 2806, would instruct the Department of Interior to conduct among other things, an inventory of the available technology and known sites for the recovery of minerals, other than gas and oil, from the sea floor of the U.S. continental shelf.
“As a result of the request I made to Chairman Hastings and Ranking Member Markey, a hearing is scheduled for September 13, at 10:00 am,” Faleomavaega said.
“The potential benefit from seabed minerals could be worth some hundreds of billions of dollars from harvesting important minerals such as cobalt, nickel, and copper. In a time when our nation is going through tough economic times, it is important to make good use of all our available resources,” Faleomavaega added.
“In addition, recent research revealed that the polymetallic nodules found on the sea floor may contain so called rare elements which are increasingly used in many applications including magnet, lasers, fiber optics, computer disk drives, fluorescent lamps, rechargeable batteries, catalytic converters, computer memory chips, X-ray tubes, high temperature superconductors and the liquid-crystal displays of televisions and computer monitors. Some ninety-five percent of the world’s supply of these rare elements is controlled by China.”
“It is disappointing therefore that it appears the U.S., once the leader in seabed exploration and mining, is lagging behind certain developed countries such as China, Russia, and India, which have given millions of dollars to develop technology and conduct research to further explore the sea floor.
“The bill I am introducing is just the first step for the United States to reengage in seabed mining, exploration and research. My hope is for the United States to once again reassert itself as the leader in the exploration and discovery of seabed minerals,” Faleomavaega concluded.