Guest post: The power of the mining industry

Posted on November 21, 2013 by Minerals Make Life

Mined materials (coal, metals, industrial minerals and aggregates) are fundamental to the economic growth of the U.S. economy, contributing 15 percent  — or more than $2 trillion — to America’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2012. Contributions to the U.S. economy from final products generated from mining, processing and manufacturing of mineral materials range from electricity from coal, to metals to build our cities, to industrial minerals in consumer products, to aggregates that provide the literal foundation of the nation.

America is home to $6.2 trillion worth of minerals, yet U.S. manufacturers currently rely on foreign suppliers for more than half of the mineral resources they use in finished products.

The U.S.  is 100 percent import dependent for 19 different minerals and metals crucial to supply chains, leaving key industries such as high-tech, healthcare and national security vulnerable to unreliable supplies of the mineral raw materials they need. The risk of supply chain disruption hinders growth in the manufacturing sector, which is crucial to bringing jobs back to the United States.

Right now, the U.S. is tied with Papua New Guinea as the country with the least efficient permitting system globally, according to the annual Behre Dolbear list of “Where Not to Invest.”

The economic health and national security of the U.S. depends on the continued availability of, and access to, reliable and affordable energy and mineral resources.

As a member of the 1.2 million Americans employed by the mining, processing and manufacturing of mineral products, I believe in the power of the mining sector to reignite the job creation engine that powers our country.

John Hayden is the Deputy Executive Director of Public Affairs & Government Relations for the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME), representing all professionals serving the minerals industry including engineers, geologists, metallurgists, educators, students and researchers. SME aims to advance the worldwide minerals community through information exchange and professional development.

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