Why the U.S. Needs Mine Permitting Reform
May 23, 2023
Nearly two decades ago, the U.S. attracted almost 20 percent of t...
2022 was another significant year for minerals mining and set the stage for what could be a mining renaissance in 2023 and beyond. Globally, the demand for minerals continued to increase rapidly as the world focuses on advancing uptake of solar and wind energy and continues to build more electric vehicles. Amid economic and geopolitical turmoil, the U.S. came face to face with the need for a strong domestic mining industry and the harsh reality of what can happen when the bedrock of our supply chains – minerals – are controlled by China, Russia and other unreliable sources. Unlike ever before, industry experts, business leaders, government officials and members of Congress from both sides of the aisle agreed that the U.S. needs to secure a stable and abundant supply of minerals.
Following the Biden administration’s 100-day review of American supply chains, The White House published a fact sheet detailing various efforts to invest in domestic mineral production and processing capabilities and launched a Department of Interior Interagency Working Group to focus on mining reform. The following month, President Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to increase the speed of the development and acquisition of minerals necessary for our national security.
As Russia invaded Ukraine, a ripple effect on mineral supply chains rocked global markets. Reports from Bank of America and S&P Global emerged about supply chain concerns and the growing disconnect between mineral demands and known or planned mineral resources being developed. Benchmark Minerals Intelligence later published a report estimating that more than 300 new mines would be needed to meet our net-zero goals.
In the U.S., policymakers recognized that to build these new mines we needed to update our antiquated permitting policies. That’s why a handful of politicians introduced reinvigorated plans for permitting reform. While these efforts failed, legislators on both sides of the aisle are coming to terms with the fact that a domestic source of minerals is the only way to keep our country safe, secure, and strong.
The National Mining Association co-hosted an event alongside CQ Roll Call, where speakers from the Biden administration, industry and academia agreed that the only sustainable path forward is through a comprehensive minerals strategy that includes domestic mining. The importance of our industry has never been so widely acknowledged as it is today. The mining industry’s message remains clear: With the right policies in place, U.S. miners are ready to support the world’s mineral needs.
Here are some ways we can take charge of our mineral output in 2023:
The U.S. was once a mineral powerhouse but, over the last two decades, we’ve allowed mineral production to slip into the hands of powerful geopolitical rivals. Let’s make 2023 the year we regain our footing in the global minerals race.