Posted on April 24, 2015 by Minerals Make Life
Last week Gareth Hatch, founding principal of Technology Metals Research, LLC, participated in a nationally and locally syndicated Radio Media Tour to stress the importance of minerals to our economy and the policy challenges that the U.S. mining industry faces:
“The biggest challenge the industry faces is the approach that’s required to get permits for new mines and new developments. In recent years, it’s taken from seven to 10 years to do the paperwork. If you compare that with countries that have a similar legal system – a similar standard of living to the U.S. like Canada or Australia – those countries are able to get the permitting process completed within two to three years. So, the U.S. is basically not as competitive as it should be in the development of new mining projects.”
While the United States is home to more than $6.2 trillion worth of key mineral resources, last year it imported more than $27 billion worth of minerals to meet its manufacturing needs, creating a reliance on foreign metals and minerals. The inefficient and duplicative permitting process currently in place means that many American manufacturers have been forced to look overseas for raw materials. This discourages investment and jeopardizes the growth of downstream industries, related jobs and technological innovation that all depend on a secure and reliable mineral supply chain.
By streamlining the U.S. mine permitting policy, America would be able to better compete globally and sustain America’s manufacturing revival. Hatch states:
“There are lots of outdated and obsolete rules and regulations in place that need to be changed. It’s time to make those changes…to make sure that the various federal departments and so on are coordinating activities and not duplicating efforts. If you look at the value of creating jobs and the impact competitive [mining] projects could have on our local economies and nation’s economy as a whole – it’s substantial. The mining industry in the U.S. supports millions of jobs, and additional [mining] projects could create hundreds of thousands of additional jobs.”
Improving access to America’s great mineral wealth is an important priority for our economic growth. Recently, Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) introduced the "National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2015,” which will bring the current U.S. mine permitting process into the 21st century and allow for access to the trillions of dollars worth of resources we have here at home.
Coupled with recent legislation introduced by Sen. Murkowski (R-Alaska) in the Senate, there is clear support in Washington to revitalize the United States’ mineral supply chain and improve the efficiency of the current permitting process.