Hal Quinn: U.S. mineral wealth is key to supply stability

Posted on May 21, 2014 by Minerals Make Life

Because of miner strikes in South Africa and trade sanctions against Russia – two of the world’s largest producers of platinum-group metals – supply concerns around platinum and palladium are growing worldwide. This week, National Mining Association President and CEO Hal Quinn discussed the permitting challenges facing the U.S. mining industry in the Duluth News Tribune. As Quinn notes, this is a “needless burden on our economy and industries” when we have states like Minnesota whose wealth of minerals, particularly platinum-group metals, could shorten supply chains and strengthen the economy:

“The Duluth Complex, a geological formation in Northeastern Minnesota, is the world’s second-largest accumulation of platinum-group metals and polymetallic copper. The Twin Metals Minnesota and NorthMet projects, currently exploring in the Duluth Complex, hold the potential to create thousands of jobs and significant economic opportunity for the state if brought to fruition, all while providing the raw materials needed to drive American industries forward.

Sadly, despite this world-class mineral reserve, a duplicative permitting process for new mineral and metal mines has hindered the development of these projects and lent further to supply-chain instability. Despite boasting the world’s largest mineral-reserve base, valued at more than $6.2 trillion, the U.S. remains 100 percent import-reliant on 19 other mineral commodities in large part due to our outdated regulatory framework. Today, it can take nearly a decade for companies to receive approval to mine for minerals and metals in the U.S. That’s five times longer than in countries with comparably stringent environmental safeguards such as Canada and Australia. This has forced investment and opportunity abroad while keeping our much-needed mineral wealth locked underground.”

Fortunately, policymakers are recognizing the importance of U.S. mining and are beginning to pass legislation like the “National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2013,” which passed the House last September and addresses a more efficient, timely and thorough permitting process. If we allow the U.S. mining industry to perform to its full potential, our nation can enjoy enormous growth and job-creation opportunities. We need U.S. policymakers to understand the importance of long-term development of minerals and metals reserves to strengthen U.S. supply chains and ensure economic growth.

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