13 hours ago
Access to minerals means a more secure America.
Minerals are among the most important components in the technologies protecting our nation.
Each year, the U.S. Department of Defense uses nearly three-quarters of a million tons of minerals in an array of military functions—from the obvious to the unseen. Aluminum is a key structural component in aircrafts due to its unique strength-to-weight ratio and its anti-corrosive properties. The magnetic capabilities of rare earth minerals—and their ability to resist demagnetization at high temperatures—are what lend missiles their necessary precision. Berylium is used in military optics, nickel in super alloys for jet engine parts and platinum in catalytic converters.
In the past, the United States has been able to readily access minerals due to abundant global supplies, but that is changing as top-producing countries need more minerals for their own growing markets. In addition, dramatic industrial growth in China, India, Russia and Brazil has also led to greater demand for minerals.
While demand for minerals has increased, minerals production in the United States has remained relatively flat for more than 20 years. Stagnant production, coupled with dependence on a widening range of minerals used by our military, increases our risk of supply disruptions and other vulnerabilities.
To respond at a moment’s notice to threats from anywhere around the globe, we will need a steady supply chain to meet our mineral defense needs. We need our leaders to create policies that enable the United States to be more self-reliant and less dependent on foreign minerals.