Washington, D.C. - Today, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik sent a letter to Department of Defense (DoD) Secretary Lloyd Austin urging the DoD to expedite the implementation of Section 152 of the FY24 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which would allow the DoD to work with companies like Phoenix Tailings in Essex County, New York, to extract rare earth metals critical to strengthening our defense manufacturing sector and military readiness. Congresswoman Stefanik led and secured the inclusion of Section 152 in the FY24 NDAA. This provision grants the DoD with multiyear procurement authority to secure domestically processed critical minerals.

Phoenix Tailings is currently establishing a pilot program at the old Barton Hill mine in Moriah, New York. The Barton Hill facility will be a key part of a fully domestic rare earth metal processing operation. The multiyear procurement authority for critical minerals that Congresswoman Stefanik secured in the FY24 NDAA will enable the U.S. to end our reliance on Communist China for critical minerals and will boost critical mineral processing in Upstate New York and around America.

In the letter, Congresswoman Stefanik states, “The recent and consistent actions by Beijing, tightening export controls on rare earths and other critical minerals, underscore the urgent need for the implementation of measures such as Section 152 of the FY24 NDAA, as China continues to assert increased control over crucial supply chains, posing a significant threat to U.S. national security interests.  By committing to multiyear procurement contracts for domestically processed rare earths, we are doing more than just secure vital supplies; we build a resilient supply chain, reducing the risk of disruption and ensuring the continued production of critical defense technology.”

Stefanik continues, “It is imperative for the DoD to expedite the implementation of Section 152 with due consideration for its significant economic and, more importantly, national security implications. Securing a domestic rare earth metal supply chain is not merely about safeguarding our military readiness, but it’s a critical step in fortifying our nation’s resilience against external threats. By taking proactive measures, we strengthen our ability to maintain strategic autonomy and safeguard our national security interests for years to come.”

Find the full letter here.