IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
March 24, 2022
Mr. Barrasso (for himself and Mr. Manchin) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
To require the Secretary of Energy to provide technology grants to strengthen domestic mining education, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Technology Grants to Strengthen Domestic Mining Education Act of 2022 or the
Mining Schools Act of 2022.
Technology grants to strengthen domestic mining education
In this section:
The term Board means the Mining Professional Development Advisory Board established by subsection (d)(1).
The term mining industry means the mining industry of the United States, consisting of the search for, and extraction, beneficiation, refining, smelting, and processing of, naturally occurring metal and nonmetal minerals from the earth.
The term mining profession means the body of jobs directly relevant to—
the exploration, planning, execution, and remediation of metal and nonmetal mining sites; and
the extraction, including the separation, refining, alloying, smelting, concentration, and processing, of mineral ores.
The term mining school means—
a mining, metallurgical, geological, or mineral engineering program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc., that is located at an institution of higher education (as defined in section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001)); and
a geology or engineering program or department that is located at a 4-year public institution of higher education (as so defined) located in a State the gross domestic product of which in 2020 was not less than $2,000,000,000 in the combined categories of “Mining (except oil and gas)” and “Support activities for mining”, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
The term Secretary means the Secretary of Energy.
Domestic mining education strengthening program
The Secretary shall establish a program to strengthen domestic mining education under which the Secretary shall award competitive grants to mining schools for the purpose of recruiting and educating the next generation of mining engineers and other qualified professionals to meet the future energy and mineral needs of the United States.
In carrying out the grant program established under subsection (b), the Secretary shall award not more than 10 grants each year to mining schools.
To the maximum extent practicable, the Secretary shall select recipients for grants under paragraph (1) to ensure geographic diversity among grant recipients to ensure that region-specific specialties are developed for region-specific geology.
The Secretary shall award the first grants under paragraph (1) by not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act.
Each year following the first year in which grants are awarded pursuant to clause (i), the Secretary shall award subsequent grants by not later than 1 year after the date on which the grants were awarded the previous year.
Recommendations of the Board
In selecting recipients for grants under paragraph (1) and determining the amount of each grant, the Secretary shall take into consideration the recommendations of the Board under subparagraphs (A) and (B) of subsection (d)(3).
Use of funds
A mining school receiving a grant under paragraph (1) shall use the grant funds—
to recruit students to the mining school; and
to enhance and support programs related to, as applicable—
mining, mineral extraction efficiency, and related processing technology;
emphasizing critical mineral and rare earth element exploration, extraction, and refining;
reclamation technology and practices for active mining operations;
the development of reprocessing systems and technologies that facilitate reclamation that fosters the recovery of resources at abandoned mine sites;
mineral extraction methods that reduce environmental and human impacts;
technologies to extract, refine, separate, melt, or produce minerals, including rare earth elements;
reducing dependence on foreign energy and mineral supplies through increased domestic critical mineral production;
enhancing the competitiveness of United States energy and mineral technology exports;
the extraction or processing of coinciding mineralization, including rare earth elements, within coal, coal processing byproduct, overburden, or coal residue;
enhancing technologies and practices relating to mitigation of acid mine drainage, reforestation, and revegetation in the reclamation of land and water resources adversely affected by mining;
enhancing exploration and characterization of new or novel deposits, including rare earth elements and critical minerals within phosphate rocks, uranium-bearing deposits, and other nontraditional sources;
meeting challenges of extreme mining conditions, such as deeper deposits or offshore or cold region mining; and
mineral economics, including analysis of supply chains, future mineral needs, and unconventional mining resources.
Mining Professional Development Advisory Board
There is established an advisory board, to be known as the
Mining Professional Development Advisory Board.
The Board shall be composed of 6 members, to be appointed by the Secretary not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, of whom—
3 shall be individuals who are actively working in the mining profession and for the mining industry; and
3 shall have experience in academia implementing and operating professional skills training and education programs in the mining sector.
The Board shall—
evaluate grant applications received under subsection (c) and make recommendations to the Secretary for selection of grant recipients under that subsection;
propose the amount of the grant for each applicant recommended to be selected under subparagraph (A); and
perform oversight to ensure that grant funds awarded under subsection (c) are used for the purposes described in paragraph (4) of that subsection.
A member of the Board shall serve for a term of 4 years.
A vacancy on the Board—
shall not affect the powers of the Board; and
shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment was made by not later than 180 days after the date on which the vacancy occurs.
Authorization of appropriations
There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2023 through 2030.
At the end of each fiscal year, any amounts made available under paragraph (1) for that fiscal year that are not awarded as grants under subsection (c) shall be returned to the Treasury.