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Missouri minerals could be used to solve supply chain issues

”Efforts to look for minerals that might occur within the US will help to alleviate supply chain issues that we’re having right now,” said Joe Gillman.

FREDERICKTOWN, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is requesting funding that they believe can be used to solve the nation's supply chain issues and set the state up for long-term success.

The Missouri Geological Survey believes a $134,000 investment by the state could help them answer the call from the federal government to find strategic mineral reserves and reduce our countries reliance on foreign suppliers like China.

It’s no secret that supply chain issues are causing problems across the country.

“Solving this is going to take all of us,” said President Joe Biden.

”Efforts to look for minerals that might occur within the US will help to alleviate supply chain issues that we’re having right now,” said Missouri Geological Survey Director Joe Gillman.

Gillman believes the solution may be buried deep within the Show-Me State.

“We do believe we have a number of the identified strategic and critical minerals located in Missouri, but we don’t have a good quantification of what that really looks like,” said Gillman.

Missouri has a long history of mining metallic minerals like lead, zinc, copper, and silver.

“Today Missourians need minerals for everything from cell phones, to solar panels, to highways,” said Gillman.

What the country needs now are cobalt, nickel, and rare earth elements such as neodymium.

“It’s important in battery technology, but also national defense technology,” said Gillman. “It has thermal properties that allow batteries to operate.  Batteries generate a lot of heat, and the addition of cobalt can mitigate those temperatures and keep batteries cool.”

Gillman believes they’ve found a significant amount in the area surrounding Fredericktown, but they need to map it out before it can be mined.

“The environmental footprint is certainly real,” said Gillman.

But the good thing about the materials being mapped is that they are reusable resources.

“As we look towards sort of this energy transition in this country you know you pull a fossil fuel out of the ground, you consume it, and then it’s gone,” said Gillman.  “The great thing about these technologies is they are recyclable materials so you can pull it out of the ground, you can use it, recycle it, repurpose it, and use it again.”

At this time this is still just a request by the Department of Natural Resources, and it's unclear if Gov. Parson will include it in his budget.

Gillman says if Gov. Parson approves the funding the state up would be eligible for additional federal funding to find these crucial resources.