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Permitting Council Moves to Designate the Critical Minerals Supply Chain as a FAST-41 Sector

Action will bring enhanced efficiency and accountability to the permitting process for critical minerals projects, helping grow America’s clean energy economy.  

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Permitting Council Press Office (

WASHINGTON (September 21, 2023) – Today, the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (Permitting Council) proposed to revise the FAST-41 mining sector regulations to focus on critical minerals and the full critical minerals supply chain, including critical minerals refining, recycling, and beneficiation, in addition to mining. As the nation works to address the increasing demand for minerals such as lithium and nickel to build a clean energy economy, the Permitting Council is working to make sure that the critical mineral projects covered by FAST-41 are leading the way.

“From wind turbines to solar panels, electric vehicle batteries to microprocessors, critical minerals are an essential building block for creating the technologies that will transform infrastructure for generations to come,” says Eric Beightel, Permitting Council Executive Director. “This enhanced focus on the critical minerals sector will help ensure that clean energy-focused infrastructure projects will get the full benefits of FAST-41’s coordination, collaboration, and efficiency, ensuring an accountable and transparent permitting process for covered critical minerals projects.”

As the global economy accelerates its adoption of clean energy technology, demand for critical minerals is set to leap exponentially, skyrocketing by 400-600 percent over the next few decades. For some critical minerals, like those used in electric vehicle batteries, the need will be even greater, growing as much as 4,000 percent. With this proposal, the Permitting Council is providing critical mineral projects that seek and obtain FAST-41 coverage with a path towards efficient and predictable environmental reviews and authorizations, without shortchanging essential community engagement, Tribal consultation, and environmental protections. 

The Permitting Council recently accepted the first critical minerals project to ever receive FAST-41 coverage, the South32 Hermosa Project. If permitted by the Federal reviewing agencies, the $1.7 billion proposed zinc and manganese mining and processing operation would be the first example of a critical mineral mining project that strengthens the domestic supply chain of critical minerals that received the benefits of the FAST-41 program. The Permitting Council will engage with critical minerals companies in the coming weeks and months to ensure building a robust portfolio of domestic critical minerals mining and supply chain projects.

The proposed rulemaking will be published in the Federal Register Reading Room on Thursday, September 21, 2023. 

About the Permitting Council and FAST-41

Established in 2015 by Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST-41), the Permitting Council is a unique Federal agency charged with improving the transparency and predictability of the Federal environmental review and authorization process for certain critical infrastructure projects. The Permitting Council is comprised of the Permitting Council Executive Director, who serves as the Council Chair; 13 Federal agency Council members (including deputy secretary-level designees of the Secretaries of Agriculture, Army, Commerce, Interior, Energy, Transportation, Defense, Homeland Security, and Housing and Urban Development, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chairs of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation); and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

The Permitting Council coordinates Federal environmental reviews and authorizations for projects that seek and qualify for FAST-41 coverage. FAST-41 covered projects are entitled to comprehensive permitting timetables and transparent, collaborative management of those timetables on the Federal Permitting Dashboard. FAST-41 covered projects may be in the renewable or conventional energy production, electricity transmission, energy storage, surface transportation, aviation, ports and waterways, water resource, broadband, pipelines, manufacturing, mining, carbon capture, semiconductors, artificial intelligence and machine learning, high-performance computing and advanced computer hardware and software, quantum information science and technology, data storage and data management, and cybersecurity sectors. 


Last updated: Thursday, September 21, 2023