Posted on November 17, 2016 by Minerals Make Life
Last week, the U.S. elected its 45th President and honored our troops by celebrating Veteran’s Day. These two important events remind us that a new administration and Congress can bring new opportunities to address the issues most important to the American people—including the continued strength of our national security. One important way to safeguard our national security is to ensure we have timely access to our domestic minerals supply.
Minerals are a critical component of the advanced technologies that keep our troops safe. The U.S. Department of Defense uses more than 750,000 tons of minerals annually to make the technologies it relies on every day. High-performance jet engines used by our Armed Forces contain nickel. Lanthanum, gadolinium and yttrium are used to produce night-vision goggles. Manganese is essential to the production of high-strength steel for the bodies of armored vehicles. Copper, silver and gold that are mined right here in the U.S. are crucial components to life-saving medical devices that our military uses.
It’s clear that America’s minerals play an indispensable role in strengthening our national security. However, access to the minerals essential for our defense is hindered by protracted delays due to the inefficient mine permitting process. Furthermore, the National Mining Association (NMA) and other industry experts recently raised serious concerns that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed financial assurance requirements on the hardrock mining industry could devastate some U.S. mining companies. This, along with a long and duplicative permitting process, threaten the country’s ability to use minerals from our own backyard for our defense.
These burdensome policies hurt our industries’ ability to get the raw mineral resources they need when they need them. As a result, many of our nation’s industries must import minerals. Despite being home to an estimated $6.2 trillion of mineral resources, the U.S. imports $6.9 billion worth of minerals from other countries. For example, the U.S. ranks in the top four globally for rare earth reserves yet imports 80 percent of the rare earth minerals.
It’s time we put America’s security back into its own hands. According to a recent poll, 63 percent of voters support a modernized mine permitting process that would reduce the protracted delays impeding the Department of Defense’s access to the U.S. mineral resource supply. The President-elect and the new Congress must work with the mining industry to ensure that our national security has timely access to critical minerals. And that means that we must improve minerals mining policies here in the U.S.
Join us in taking action to urge our new leaders to support a modern and secure mineral resource supply. Take action here.