Awakening America to the value of its natural resource industries

Posted on January 13, 2014 by Minerals Make Life

Here at home and around the world, the call for resources is getting louder. On Friday, Jan. 10, Hal Quinn, president and CEO of the National Mining Association, spoke to the Alaska Industry Support Alliance in Anchorage about the need for mineral resources in “The Great Land.”

With a rising global middle class and more people trading in their bicycles for BMWs, it is clear that resource competition will be fierce. So it’s no surprise that a recent PwC survey found that 70 percent of CEOs in basic and high-tech industries identify minerals and metals scarcity as a major threat to their companies’ success.

Such concerns are hardly insignificant for America’s global competitiveness—especially in the energy, manufacturing, technology and national defense industries.

The need is known and sufficiently defined.  But what about our own potential to meet it? Should those CEOs with U.S.-based businesses lose sleep over their supply chains? The simple answer is yes—for at least two reasons:

  • Suitable substitutes for those metals and minerals are few and often inferior; and
  • Despite an immense domestic resource base, disabling policies restrain us from performing to our full potential.

The good news is that we have actually made some headway. In the past two Congresses, the House of Representatives has passed the “National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act,” which streamlines the permitting process. But we are only halfway home. The Senate needs to act.

Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced legislation designed to better position our nation to meet its mineral needs. The hope is that both legislative bodies can come together to enact meaningful permitting improvements that will allow us to realize our full resource potential.

You can read Mr. Quinn’s full speech here.

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