U.S. Department of Energy - Office of Fossil Energy & Carbon Management's Division of Minerals Sustainability Multi-Year Program Plan Rollout
To address the challenge of leading the United States to secure national independence from rare earth element (REE) offshore reliance, the United States Department of Energy in 2014 performed an initial assessment under its Feasibility of Recovering Rare Earth Elements program, to assess the potential recovery of REE from coal and coal by-products which included run-of-mine coal, coal refuse (mineral matter that is removed from coal), clay/sandstone over/under-burden materials, ash (coal combustion residuals), and aqueous effluents such as acid mine drainage (AMD), and associated solids and precipitates resulting from AMD treatment.
In 2019 and 2020, the DOE expanded the technology development efforts to include the recovery of critical minerals (CM) from coal-based resources, and renamed the REE program as the Critical Minerals Sustainability program. In 2021, the Division of Minerals Sustainability was created within the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) to house all of FECM’s work on critical minerals and carbon ore processing. The Program Plan presented here has been assembled after receiving substantial feedback from a diverse set of stakeholders over the past year, especially from a series of workshops coordinated by USEA. The Program Plan describes the primary work planned by the Division over the course of the next decade, focusing around 4 primary pillars: 1) Sustainable Resource Characterization and Technology Development, 2) Sustainable Resource Extraction Technology Development, 3) Processing and Refining of Critical Minerals and Carbon Ore Manufacturing, and 4) Crosscutting activities that include Standards development and outreach.
The Multi-Year Program Plan for the Division of Critical Minerals can be downloaded on the right side of this page under "presentations".