- Under the National Defense Authorization Act (FY24) now signed into law by President Biden, the House Armed Services Committee directs the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy to submit a report assessing the domestic processing of seafloor polymetallic nodules by March 1, 2024.
- Last month, thirty-one Members of Congress wrote a letter to the Secretary of Defense and the Pentagon urging the Department of Defense to “explore every avenue to strengthen our rare earth and critical mineral supply chains”, emphasizing “the importance of evaluating and planning for seabed mining as a new vector of competition...”.
- The news comes as American and allied auto and battery makers struggle to secure supplies of critical battery metals that comply with guidelines for incentives under the Inflation Reduction Act.
NEW YORK, Jan. 03, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- TMC the metals company Inc. (Nasdaq: TMC) (“TMC” or the “Company”), an explorer of the world’s largest estimated undeveloped source of critical battery metals, today welcomed the passage of the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law and the inclusion of provisions directing the Department of Defense to submit a report to the House Armed Services Committee assessing the domestic processing of seafloor polymetallic nodules by March 1, 2024.
In the language attached to the newly approved Act, the Committee acknowledged the imperative of establishing a secure supply chain of critical and strategic minerals and materials and noted, “that to meet national security requirements the United States must have the ability to source critical minerals in innovative arenas to decrease reliance on sources from foreign adversaries.” As a potential new frontier for resource extraction, the Committee directs the Pentagon to produce a report which, among other things, outlines “a roadmap recommending how the United States can have the ability to source and/or process critical minerals in innovative arenas, such as deep-sea mining.”
Through the NDAA, the House Armed Services Committee has directed the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy to submit a report to the Committee by March 1, 2024 “assessing the processing of seabed resources of polymetallic nodules domestically. The report shall include, at a minimum, the following: (1) a review of current resources and controlling parties in securing seabed resources of polymetallic nodules; (2) an assessment of current domestic deep-sea mining and material processing capabilities; and (3) a roadmap recommending how the United States can have the ability to source and/or process critical minerals in innovative arenas, such as deep-sea mining, to decrease reliance on sources from foreign adversaries and bolster domestic competencies.”
In November 2023, a bipartisan coalition led by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) re-introduced a resolution calling on the U.S. Senate to ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), arguing that “the longer we sit out, the longer the rest of the world will continue to set the agenda of maritime domain, from seabed mining to critical subsea infrastructure.” That same month, five Members of the US House of Representatives from Texas urged the Department of Defense to support the use of federal resources under the NDAA towards TMC’s feasibility study for nodule processing along the Texas Gulf Coast. In a letter to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy, Laura D. Taylor-Kale, the Members wrote: “The applicant seems to have the ability to produce battery-grade materials at commercial facilities in North America at pilot scale. The scope of the submission focuses solely on U.S. processing and appears to offer the Department of Defense the opportunity to re-shore critical mineral supply lines.”
Over recent years, TMC has welcomed letters from congressional leaders including the House Armed Services Committee as well as former military leaders urging the Biden Administration to assess domestic processing of seafloor polymetallic nodules as a means to secure key energy transition metals and “close national security vulnerabilities.” In March last year, TMC Chairman and CEO Gerard Barron wrote to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, noting, “Support from the U.S. Government for the development of the polymetallic nodule resource and TMC’s first project, NORI-D, would unlock access to the resource without overcoming legislative hurdles to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.”
About The Metals Company
The Metals Company is an explorer of lower-impact battery metals from seafloor polymetallic nodules, on a dual mission: (1) supply metals for the global energy transition with the least possible negative impacts on planet and people and (2) trace, recover and recycle the metals we supply to help create a metals commons that can be used in perpetuity. The Company through its subsidiaries holds exploration and commercial rights to three polymetallic nodule contract areas in the Clarion Clipperton Zone of the Pacific Ocean regulated by the International Seabed Authority and sponsored by the governments of Nauru, Kiribati and the Kingdom of Tonga. More information is available at www.metals.co.
Forward Looking Statements
This press release contains “forward-looking” statements and information within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements may be identified by words such as “aims,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “could,” “estimates,” “expects,” “forecasts,” “goal,” “intends,” “may,” “plans,” “possible,” “potential,” “seeks,” “will” and variations of these words or similar expressions, although not all forward-looking statements contain these words. Forward-looking statements in this press release include, but are not limited to, TMC’s expectations with respect to the U.S. 2024 National Defense Authorization Act. The Company may not actually achieve the plans, intentions or expectations disclosed in these forward-looking statements, and you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Actual results or events could differ materially from the plans, intentions and expectations disclosed in these forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including, among other things: the Company’s strategies and future financial performance; the International Seabed Authority’s (“ISA”) ability to timely adopt the Mining Code and/or willingness to review and/or approve a plan of work for exploitation under the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS); the Company’s ability to obtain exploitation contracts or approved plans of work for exploitation for its areas in the Clarion Clipperton Zone; regulatory uncertainties and the impact of government regulation and political instability on the Company’s resource activities; changes to any of the laws, rules, regulations or policies to which the Company is subject, including the terms of the final Mining Code, if any, adopted by ISA and the potential timing thereof; the impact of extensive and costly environmental requirements on the Company’s operations; environmental liabilities; the impact of polymetallic nodule collection on biodiversity in the Clarion Clipperton Zone and recovery rates of impacted ecosystems; the Company’s ability to develop minerals in sufficient grade or quantities to justify commercial operations; the lack of development of seafloor polymetallic nodule deposit; the Company’s ability to successfully enter into binding agreements with Allseas Group S.A. and other parties in which it is in discussions, if any; uncertainty in the estimates for mineral resource calculations from certain contract areas and for the grade and quality of polymetallic nodule deposits; risks associated with natural hazards; uncertainty with respect to the specialized treatment and processing of polymetallic nodules that the Company may recover; risks associated with collective, development and processing operations, including with respect to the development of onshore processing capabilities and capacity and Allseas Group S.A.’s expected development efforts with respect to the Project Zero offshore system; the Company’s dependence on Allseas Group S.A.; fluctuations in transportation costs; fluctuations in metals prices; testing and manufacturing of equipment; risks associated with the Company’s limited operating history, limited cash resources and need for additional financing; risks associated with the Company’s intellectual property; Low Carbon Royalties’ limited operating history and other risks and uncertainties, any of which could cause the Company’s actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, that are described in greater detail in the section entitled “Risk Factors” in TMC’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022, filed by TMC with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) on March 27, 2023, as updated and/or supplemented by TMC’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2023, filed with the SEC on August 14, 2023, and in TMC’s other future filings with the SEC, including TMC’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2023, filed with the SEC on November 9, 2023. Any forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date hereof, and the Company expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained herein, whether because of any new information, future events, changed circumstances or otherwise, except as otherwise required by law.