November 08, 2019
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October is Manufacturing Month. The manufacturing industry plays a crucial role in our everyday lives; from producing the products that provide us entertainment to enabling our transportation and livelihoods, stimulating economic growth and creating jobs.
As manufacturing grows and new products and services expand, more mineral resources will be necessary. In 2018, the U.S. produced roughly $82.2 billion worth of raw materials that helped fuel manufacturing. These raw materials served as inputs for various industries that yielded a combined value of more than $3 trillion in economic output. Minerals are found in nearly every manufactured good, from laptops and cell phones to microwaves and medical devices.
The U.S. is fortunate to have a plentiful supply of minerals that are essential for American manufacturing, yet half of all mineral-rich land is either off-limits or restricted for mineral development. Meanwhile, some in Congress are considering additional rules and regulations that would further restrict mineral development. This will only increase our dependence on mineral imports.
In 2018, the U.S. relied on foreign countries to supply 48 mineral commodities for half of its total consumption. To make matters worse, the U.S. was 100 percent import reliant for 18 of those minerals. This dangerous dependence could be devastating to not only our manufacturing industry but also the downstream industries that rely on manufactured goods, impacting our national security and our energy future.
As the world increasingly focuses on the development of alternative energy sources, the U.S. has the opportunity to revamp our minerals supply-chain, becoming more self-sufficient and less reliant on mineral imports.
In a recent hearing, the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee championed Senator Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) American Mineral Security Act, as they stressed the importance of making the U.S. an exporter of critical minerals instead of a net-importer. The proposed bill has received bipartisan support, sending a clear message that our nation’s mineral dependence and outdated mining laws are issues that transcend political affiliation.
To honor Manufacturing Month, we must help reform mining policy to ensure that the industry continues to have timely access to a reliable supply chain. To accomplish this, we need our policymakers to support the American Mineral Security Act.
Learn more about how Sen. Murkowski’s proposed legislation will strengthen our industries by reviewing the bill’s full text here.