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Great Western testifies before US Congress regarding pending rare earths legislation

Great Western Minerals Group (CVE:GWG) said Monday that it has provided expert testimony to a US House of Representatives' committee for two pieces of pending legislation on critical minerals and rare earths.

President and CEO Jim Engdahl urged members of Congress to work together on a bipartisan solution to the "rare earths and critical minerals crisis" in the US, and to incorporate provisions from both bills under consideration.

Rare earths are metals used in a number of green technologies, from wind turbines to hybrid car batteries and mobile phones.

China is the world's largest supplier of the strategic minerals, producing over 97%, and with the country continually cutting export quotas, rare earths are becoming short in supply.

The two pieces of legislation Great Western consulted on are entitled the "National Strategic and Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2011", and the "Resource Assessment of Rare Earths Act of 2011".

"These bills offer important elements of a much-needed comprehensive solution to challenges in developing a complete, reliable and competitive rare earth supply-chain in the United States," Engdahl said.

Indeed, Engdahl specifically cited ideas within the pending legislation, includng a supply-chain analysis to inform the market of potential shortages, the creation of a small inventory of those rare earths in short supply, and the development of downstream capabilities to produce metal.

Engdahl also advocated for industry and government officials to reform the current framework for issuing permits to develop rare earth mines, which are increasingly difficult to bring into production.

"Great Western does not support shortcuts that skirt important environmental protections," he added.

"Rather, we are encouraging a streamlining of the permitting process by the identification of unnecessary bureaucracy and inefficiency in the process."

Currently, the permitting process for a rare earth mine can take up to a decade from application submission to permit approval.

Great Western processes rare earth-based alloys, which are used in the battery, magnet and aerospace industries. The company also owns rare earth properties in South Africa and North America.

The hearing with CEO Engdahl can be viewed at