Mine Permitting Reform Needed to Effectively Harness Michigan’s Iron

Posted on December 02, 2015 by Minerals Make Life

In his recent op-ed in The Detroit News, Harry Moser, founder of the Reshoring Initiative, writes about the importance of a stable minerals supply chain to Michigan’s manufacturing industry. Moser emphasizes in particular the role of iron in the state’s economic success. Because minerals are the backbone of manufacturing, Moser writes that Michigan’s policymakers must support current legislation that enables improved access to the domestic minerals in order to create jobs and keep the state’s manufacturing sector thriving.

America is one of the world’s top 10 iron ore producers. And as the second largest producer of iron in the country, Michigan “plays a pivotal role in that supply chain.” In fact, in 2013, Michigan and Minnesota were responsible for shipping a combined 99 percent of usable ore produced for the entire U.S., totaling an estimated value of $5 billion.

Iron ore is the world’s most commonly used metal and it “can be found in everything from energy technology to consumer electronics to everyday household items,” according to Moser. In addition to its various applications, iron ore supports many jobs. In 2012, for example, the metal supported 21,000 direct and indirect domestic jobs. Also, iron assists in the production of steel—specifically, 98 percent of globally mined iron is used to make steel.

So what’s the takeaway? The metal’s various applications and ability to spur economic growth positions iron ore as the backbone to nearly every industry. Unfortunately, manufacturers have limited access to the U.S.’ ample resource supply of iron. While “iron is everywhere,” according to Moser, we cannot easily access the resource due to the inefficient and lengthy mine permitting process. Thankfully, there is current legislation introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) that will “reduce delays and help bolster minerals production in Michigan,” improving access to the U.S. raw iron ore supply. Moser explains that members of Michigan’s—and the nation’s—manufacturing industry need the Senate to approve Sen. Murkowski’s bill so that they can “access the raw materials they need.”

Read Harry Moser’s full op-ed to learn more here.

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