Sinema-backed bipartisan legislation supports university mining educational programs focused on extracting critical minerals, rare earth minerals, and mine remediation
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema cosponsored the Mining Schools Act – bipartisan legislation that invests in Arizona’s energy future by supporting jobs and university mining educational programs focused on extracting critical minerals, rare earth minerals, and mine remediation. The University of Arizona’s mining and geological engineering program would be positioned to earn grants under Sinema’s bipartisan legislation.
“Investing in Arizona’s energy future through mining education programs will fuel jobs, clean up abandoned mines, and keep Arizona communities safe,” said Sinema.
“As our nation looks to maintain our economic competitiveness, including a sustainable energy infrastructure, expansion of EVs, and an increasingly connected realization of the fourth industrial revolution, it is essential that the U.S. maintains and expands domestic sources of critical minerals, including copper. The Mining Schools Act of 2022 comes at an opportune time as the University of Arizona School of Mining and Mineral Resources is standing up in perfect alignment with this Act, working to ensure that we meet the workforce and research needs to remain global leaders,” said David Hahn, Dean of the College of Engineering, University of Arizona
The bipartisan Mining Schools Act authorizes a seven-year $10 million U.S. Department of Energy grant program for mining schools. These grants can be used to recruit students and research projects or demonstration projects related to the production of minerals. These programs would include critical mineral and rare earth element exploration, as well as reclamation technology. The University of Arizona’s College of Mining and Geological Engineering would be well positioned to apply for grants under the Sinema-backed legislation.
In 2020, the mining industry had a $15.4 billion total economic impact and supported nearly 47,700 Arizona jobs. The Sinema-backed legislation would help develop the workforce to extract the minerals needed to fuel the transition to clean energy and wider use of electric vehicles. The Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe could benefit from additional mining professionals who could help with remediation efforts at abandoned uranium mines. There are over 200,000 abandoned mine features across Arizona and only 19,000 have been identified by the Arizona State Mine Inspector.
Sinema’s backing of the Mining Schools Act complements her work cleaning up abandoned mines in Arizona. In March, Sinema cosponsored the bipartisan Good Samaritan Remediation of Abandoned Hardrock Mines Act– legislation that cuts red tape, allowing organizations ensure safer Arizona communities by cleaning up abandoned mines, which can contaminate water, cause environmental damage, and contain old explosives.