March 21, 2012
Leo Hindery Jr., chair of the U.S. Economy/Smart Globalization ...
Automobile enthusiasts are in Washington, D.C., this week for the annual DC Auto Show, where attendees preview the newest models and technologies that are shaping the future of the auto industry. In a recent piece for The Hill, National Mining Association’s (NMA) President and CEO Hal Quinn discusses important issues that are facing the auto industry, most notably “access to domestic minerals and metals that make up nearly every component of vehicles.” Quinn continues:
“From aluminum frames to lithium-ion batteries in hybrids, minerals and metals are the foundational components that make up the most basic to the most advanced vehicles manufactured today. Copper, for example, is a crucial building block for air-conditioning systems and radiators. Beryllium is essential for creating airbags, and boron, borate and borax play central roles in hundreds of glass parts like windshields and windows. Without these materials, the basic structure of a car today would not exist.”
Unfortunately because of a lengthy, outdated federal permitting process, it has become increasingly difficult to fulfill the needs of the auto industry, let alone support a full manufacturing renaissance. In fact, a recent NMA-commissioned survey showed that the majority of U.S. manufacturing executives—many of whom are in the automotive industry—are concerned with our ability to access domestic minerals and metals when we need them. Quinn writes, “In fact, while electric car sales have doubled every year for the past three years, auto executives expect demand for lithium to outpace supply in as little as 10 years. As companies seek to cut costs and streamline domestic operations, the United States’ $6.2 trillion worth of minerals and metals could be the catalyst for growth.”
As Mitch Bainwol, president and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, points out in a recent NMA Newsmakers episode, a steady, reliable source of minerals is the key to a healthy domestic manufacturing industry, particularly the automobile industry, which uses a variety of minerals—including gold, magnesium, and copper—in every single car it produces. By streamlining the permitting process for new U.S. mining projects here at home, we can better set the foundation for similar manufacturing expansions and the job growth that follows.
Read more from The Hill here.