What happened

Precious metal and rare earth mineral miners surged as much as 20% today. Shares of New Gold (NYSEMKT:NGD) and PolyMet Mining (NYSEMKT:PLM) remain up 12% and 13%, respectively, and Northern Dynasty Minerals (NYSEMKT:NAK) shares are up 14%.

The price of gold itself has also been rising recently, and jumped almost another 1% today, to close at a two-week high of $1,920 per ounce. 

So what 

The rising commodity price isn't the only reason the miners are moving today. Momentum for these shares started last week after President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday declaring a national emergency in the mining industry, saying it was "particularly concerning" that the United States imports 80% of its rare-earth elements directly from China.

open pit mine with heavy equipment trucks working

Image source: Getty Images.

The push to lower dependence on foreign nations for metals now needed for vehicle electrification, wind turbines, and other electronics has boosted miners of rare earth minerals along with precious metal miners. Since the issue of the executive order, these three miners are up between 15% and 20%. 

NGD Chart

NGD data by YCharts

And shares of the smaller Westwater Resources have rocketed up nearly 500% in the past seven days. 

Now what

Though the executive order talked about minerals critical to infrastructure, the military, and the economy, it also specifically said the "United States must broadly enhance its mining and processing capacity, including for minerals not identified as critical minerals and not included within the national emergency declared in this order."

That should boost the prospects for miners like PolyMet, Northern Dynasty, and New Gold. Northern Dynasty is looking for approval of its Pebble Mine project in Alaska, which will allow the company to begin to extract known deposits of copper, gold, molybdenum, silver, and other metals. The company is finalizing mitigation plans with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the project. But politics has also put shares of Northern Dynasty on a roller coaster ride recently, with Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) comments from both President Trump and his son

PolyMet is aiming to become the first Minnesota mining company to commercially produce copper, nickel, gold, silver, and other metals from its NorthMet mining project in the state. The company is currently working through litigation challenging the water permit it has received. 

New Gold, with its mines in Canada, is benefiting from the rise in the gold commodity price. Production from its mines in Ontario and British Columbia was affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Though it had to lower production estimates, it is now ramping production of gold and copper back up, and a rising commodity price has investors more optimistic about what's to come. 

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