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Ernst, Grassley, Miller-Meeks Sound Alarm with DoD on Sourcing of Critical Defense Minerals

RED OAK, Iowa – Following recent reports that the only smelter producing, high-purity aluminum plant in the U.S. is set to curtail the production due to high energy costs, members of the Iowa Congressional delegation – U.S. Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley as well as Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks – are sounding the alarm with the Department of Defense (DoD) on their plans to source this critical mineral, ensuring the United States is not dependent on hostile nations for the products that source our military’s weapons systems. 

In a letter to the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy, the Iowa officials write: “U.S. manufacturers who make crucial components for the aerospace, aviation, and defense sector are now forced to source HPA from foreign sources (including Russia) at an increased cost. Increasing our reliance on Russia for this critical material, particularly after Russia’s unwarranted invasion of Ukraine and its increasingly malign behavior, is unacceptable. There is one domestic company now producing HPA with an efficient refining process that uses primary aluminum as an input material – the only company in North America making HPA at scale for defense applications today.”

They go onto write: “Ensuring the United States maintains critical mineral and material independence from our adversaries is a vital national security interest that compels your swift attention. The undersigned members of Congress urge a written response and follow-on briefing regarding the Department of Defense’s efforts to secure domestic and allied sources of HPA within the next ninety days to ensure the continued viability and lethality of our military’s weapons platforms.”

To read the full letter, click here.