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National Defense Through Minerals Security

October 13, 2011

By Hal Quinn, President and CEO, National Mining Association

A Pentagon report to Congress revealed that our nation’s reliance on China for rare earth minerals could weaken U.S. military efforts. Essential to a range of defense technologies, including night vision goggles and fighter aircraft, rare earths help prepare our military and protect our nation.

The report also noted the strategic importance of rare earths. U.S. industries depend on imports for 100 percent of their rare earths supplies, and growing demand from developing countries means the U.S. must compete for these resources on the international market. Import dependence also exposes the United States to supply disruptions and export restrictions in producing countries.

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Manufacturers Use Minerals in Innovative “3-D Printing”

October 06, 2011

As the building blocks of innovation and the lifeblood of manufacturing, minerals have long been manipulated into high-tech products and heavy equipment. But according to Reuters, a few leading U.S. manufacturers are using minerals in a new way, designing and producing items previously deemed “unmanufacturable,” through additive manufacturing, also known as “3-D printing.”

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Sen. Murkowski Introduces Critical Minerals Amendment to Currency Bill

October 05, 2011

In an effort to promote the domestic production of critical minerals, U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Dean Heller, R-Nev., this week filed an amendment to the currency bill currently being debated in the Senate.

The amendment highlights the importance of domestic minerals production to global competitiveness, economic growth and the development of advanced energy technologies such as wind turbines and electric cars.

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Accessing Alaska’s Untapped Critical Minerals

October 04, 2011

Hundreds of political leaders, mining officials and executives, geologists, and national security experts converged at Alaska’s Strategic and Critical Minerals Summit in Fairbanks on Sept. 30 to examine the benefits of—and challenges to—accessing the state’s untapped critical minerals resources.

Critical minerals are those that are subject to possible supply restrictions, but necessary to sectors such as energy, defense and manufacturing. Among those considered critical are rare earth elements—minerals that were largely the focus of the summit.

Currently, the United States relies on China for more than 90 percent of its rare earths consumption—a statistic China is leveraging to its strategic advantage. But according to the U.S. Geological Survey, there are approximately 13 million metric tons of rare earths within known U.S. deposits, and many of the deposits are located in Alaska. In fact, with exploration companies standing ready to develop approximately 70 promising sites that have been identified by state geologists, Reuters reported that Alaska could soon be “the Silicon Valley of rare earths.”

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From Twitter

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