How Inefficient Regulations Stunt U.S. Economic Growth

Posted on October 21, 2014 by Minerals Make Life

Following the release of SNL’s U.S. Mines to Market study, Idaho newspaper CDA Press took an in-depth look at how current mining regulations and permitting delays impact local mining and manufacturing operations.

Hecla’s Lucky Friday mine, located in Idaho’s Silver Valley, produced 1.5 million ounces of silver last year; however, none of its silver was sent to in-state manufacturing plants like Ground Force Manufacturing.

“That’s not just a problem for Hecla and Ground Force. It’s at the heart of a big, big problem for the American economy,” the article states.

In U.S. Mines to Market, we learned about a major disconnect between U.S. manufacturing and mining as the study follows minerals from their initial extraction in the U.S. to their eventual transformation into end products. Current permitting processes obstructsdomestic minerals extraction and production.

As study author Mark Fellows puts it, “Sensible permitting timelines that wouldn’t jeopardize the environment would satisfy consumers and industry. It’s expensive and unnecessary for so much of America’s metals and minerals to be exported when there’s so much demand for it right here at home…Permitting is a key that unlocks many solutions. And it doesn’t mean tossing out environmental standards with the heavy metal residue.”

Echoing Fellows’ sentiments, Hecla’s CEO, Phil Baker states:

“There isn’t any place in the world that can do a better job of producing products safely, with environmental protection, as cost-effectively as here in the U.S. We have the most innovation, the best organization, the best work force and the best flexibility for the private sector to get that to happen, which provides a significant competitive advantage when operating in the U.S. But you need to have a regulatory environment that encourages that. And we have just the opposite. We have a regulatory environment that forces us to spend years and millions and millions of dollars to get the permits necessary to do the work, even at existing operations.”

Ground Force Manufacturing’s CEO Ron Nilson agrees:

“Long, complex — and expensive. When a mining permit takes 10 years that’s a blow to both industries. We need both those resources and those jobs.”

Do you agree? Take action for a more thoughtful way forward here.

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