Annual report ranks United States worst in permitting delays

Posted on April 10, 2013 by Minerals Make Life

Behre Dolbear, the leading minerals industry advisory firm, released its annual report, “2013 Ranking of Countries for Mining Investment: Where Not to Invest,” and once again the United States ranks last alongside Papua New Guinea as the country with the least efficient permitting system globally, stating:

“Permitting delays are the most significant risk to mining projects in the United States. A few mining friendly states (Nevada, Utah, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Arizona) are an exception to this rule but are negatively impacted by federal rules that they are bound to enforce resulting in a 7- to 10-year waiting period before mine development can begin.”

In 2009, the same study found that the U.S. permitting process took an average of five to seven years. Today, it’s seven to 10 years—a 40 percent increase in delays—which is an important factor in the decline of global investment dollars in metals mining in the U.S.

The National Mining Association has repeatedly voiced concern with the current permitting process because it is affecting our economy, national security and global competitiveness.

Mining is one of the few sectors that will add jobs at a fairly consistent rate over the next 20 years. However, a more efficient permitting process would allow for new minerals mining projects to get approved more quickly, creating high-paying, lasting jobs for hardworking Americans and contributing to local communities.

In addition to jobs, the mining sector is the bedrock of other industries. The value added by major industries that consume the $77 billion of minerals produced in the U.S. was an estimated $2.4 trillion in 2012, or 15 percent of total U.S. GDP.

New mining projects would create a more secure supply chain for U.S. manufacturers, encouraging more domestic production of the technologies we use every day—including automobiles, medical devices and cell phones.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) recently released findings from the “Strategic and Critical Materials 2013 Report on Stockpile Requirements,” which identified 23 critical minerals of which shortages are likely. As one of the largest consumers of minerals, the DOD could avoid the stockpiling of minerals—which recently was identified as a “solution” to the scarcity problem—in favor of the resources that exist here at home.

It is imperative that the U.S. permitting process be reformed. As such, NMA continues to urge Congress to pass H.R. 761 to provide a more predictable regulatory environment, one that will attract additional investments and allow U.S. mining to build on our positive contribution to the national economy and host communities.

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