Minerals and Metals Can Strengthen U.S. Economy

Posted on August 16, 2016 by Minerals Make Life

As conversations around jobs and growth play a pivotal role in the upcoming presidential election, it’s worth considering the impact that minerals have in supporting the economy.

Minerals and metals provide the raw materials needed to manufacture anything from automobiles to high-tech electronics and national defense systems. Every year, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) releases its Minerals Commodity Summaries data for nearly 100 mineral commodities considered essential to the economy and national security. According to the 2016 report, industries that rely on metals and minerals contribute $2.5 trillion, more than 14 percent of total Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Fortunately, the U.S. is home to one of the richest natural resource reserves in the world, with an estimated $6.2 trillion worth of minerals and metals.

The U.S. is also the largest manufacturing nation in the world. Manufacturing alone added $2.17 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2015 and contributed to 12.1 percent of total GDP. Unfortunately, since 2000, the U.S. economy has lost more than five million manufacturing jobs and closed more than 50,000 factories.

While manufacturing jobs are steadily reshoring to the U.S., timely access to minerals remains at a standstill. According to the 2016 USGS Minerals Commodity Summaries, the U.S. is completely import dependent for 19 key minerals. Because of a duplicative mine permitting process that creates unnecessary delays, industries that rely on raw mineral and metal materials often have to wait up to 10 years before resources can be mined. This disrupts supply chain and weakens U.S. resource security, causing many industries to rely on imported minerals and metals.

The mining industry supports the economy by providing millions of direct and indirect jobs that span across the nation’s vital industries—like manufacturing. For every job created in the mining industry, two more are created elsewhere in the economy. Furthermore, the mining industry generates $46 billion in federal, state and local taxes.

Fortunately, Congress will go to conference next month on the House and Senate-passed energy bills. The Senate bi-partisan bill, the “Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016,” contains measures to streamline the U.S. mine permitting and improve access to the minerals that play such a vital role in the economy.

The U.S. has the potential to strengthen the economy and create jobs in mining and manufacturing. Passing comprehensive mine permitting reform is a positive step toward greater economic prosperity and resource security.

Tell your lawmakers to support minerals legislation this fall. Take action here.

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