1 day ago
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.
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.”
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.