Posted on July 22, 2015 by Minerals Make Life
SNL Metals & Mining’s director of consulting, Mark Fellows, explains in a new video the crucial link between U.S. minerals mining and America’s competitiveness in global manufacturing, namely how more mining in the U.S. can build a stronger economy here at home. However, citing SNL Metals & Mining’s latest study, Fellows notes that current U.S. mine permitting delays impair and discourage investments in mineral mining projects, stalling economic opportunity and undermining U.S. global competitiveness.
Minerals and metals are at work all around us, and they play a significant role in the manufacturing process. As Fellows explains, “everything from automobiles, mobile phones, computers—anything manufactured is going to inevitably include something that came out of the ground.” Spanning across the automotive, defense, energy, medical and advanced technology industries, minerals and metals are the key components of the technological innovations that make the U.S. the largest manufacturing country in the world. However, the U.S. is only the seventh largest mining country despite its vast reserve of mineral resources, which makes for a significant gap between U.S. mining output and the nation’s growing manufacturing needs, Fellows explains.
“The U.S. has one of the largest mineral endowments in terms of minerals in the ground, with a value in excess of $6 trillion. However, the development process to actually progress these mineral deposits from the exploration stage through to mining is broken and takes far too long.”
Protracted delays in mine permitting, which can take seven to 10 years in the U.S., can have costly effects on the mining industry and our economy as a whole. As Fellows notes, the length of the permitting process causes mining projects to lose value, stunting investments and overall economic growth:
“A seven to 10 year delay could typically reduce the value of [a mining] project by 30 to 50 percent…Any kind of investor—and mining companies are no exception—need certainty when they’re making investment decisions, and the problem with the permitting process is it’s extremely unpredictable. That has a real economic impact on the value of the project and on a mining company’s willingness to invest.”
What reforms are needed to make the U.S. more competitive globally? Fellows recommends common sense policy reform that will provide a more efficient permitting process, including “making the permitting process timeline more predictable; reducing the number of government agencies involved and giving mining companies a more proactive role in producing the permitting studies.”
As Fellows notes, fortunately, there is growing recognition on Capitol Hill of the need for mine permitting reform to bring timely access to our mineral reserves in order to secure our mineral supply and make the U.S. a more competitive mining country. In fact, legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate to improve our mine permitting system and restore U.S. minerals and manufacturing.
Learn more from Mark Fellows in the video below, and take action here to support mine permitting reform.