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LAKEWOOD, Colo. — The Bureau of Indian Affairs is seeking grant proposals to identify, evaluate and assess the market for tribal energy or mineral development projects. 

The Bureau is offering funding for the projects via the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development’s Division of Energy and Mineral Development (DEMD). 

DEMD expects to fund 25 to 30 projects ranging from $10,000 to $2.5 million, according to a notice in the Federal Register. The scope of the projects can only last for one year at a time. 

The Energy and Mineral Development Program grants are intended to fund “Tribes and Tribal Energy Development Organizations for technical assistance funding to hire consultants to identify, evaluate or assess the market for energy or mineral resources that a Tribe will process, use, or develop,” according to the notice. 

Tribes can use the funding for initial resource exploration, defining potential targets for development, performing market analysis to establish production/demand for a commodity, performing economic evaluation and analysis of the resource, developing baseline studies related to energy and mineral projects, and various other pre-development studies required for energy and mineral resources development. 

The resources could include “biomass (woody and waste) for heat or electricity; transportation fuels; hydroelectric, solar, or wind generation; geothermal heating or electricity production; district heating; other forms of distributed energy generation; oil, natural gas, geothermal, and helium; sand and gravel, coal, precious minerals, and base minerals,” according to the request for proposals. 

Eligible projects must take place on Indian lands or land conveyed to an Alaska Native Corporation. The feasibility studies funded by the grants can be completed by tribal energy development organizations, colleges and universities, private consulting firms, or nonprofits.

Ineligible uses are projects not occurring on Indian lands, establishing or operating tribal offices, salaries for most tribal employees, purchasing equipment, drilling wells for the commercial sale of resources, legal fees, permitting application fees, and training activities, among others.  

Projects will be weighed by their economic viability, project viability, budget and the scope of work and deliverables, among other factors, according to the notice

DEMD began accepting proposals for the competitive grant program on Sept. 3. Applications must be submitted no later than Dec. 2.

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