March 31, 2015
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) aims to improve the U.S.’ ...
The House Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing yesterday on Rep. Mark Amodei’s (R-Nev.) “National Strategic Critical Minerals Production Act of 2015.” This bill aims to modernize the current U.S. mine permitting process by improving access to the trillions of dollars worth of mineral reserves, which will boost domestic manufacturing and the American economy.
Rep. Amodei was joined by several experts including:
Together, Rep. Amodei and these experts testified that the current U.S. mine permitting process is plagued by delays due to bureaucratic inefficiencies that impair and discourage investment in new mining projects, ultimately putting our mineral supply chain at risk. As these individuals testified, this has a tremendous effect on our defense, advanced energy, high-tech electronics and medical industries, which rely on minerals to make the products Americans use every day. Additionally, they emphasized the need to reform our current mine permitting policy in order to increase our domestic manufacturing, support economic growth and keep our nation safe.
Jeffery A. Green, president of J.A. Green & Company, explained that if Congress does not reform the current mine permitting process, our national security will be put at risk:
“What truly concerns me is the impact that U.S. reliance of importing these materials can have on the defense supply chain… Foreign governments have deliberately disrupted supplies of strategic and critical materials in peacetime and wartime with remarkable effects, resulting in severe supply restrictions and prohibitive price increases.”
Access to minerals means a more secure America, and our defense system needs a steady and stable mineral supply chain in order to meet our national security needs.
Of all the developed nations, the U.S. is afflicted the most severely by protracted permitting delays, which hinder access to the abundant mineral resources here at home. In countries like Canada and Australia, who have similar environmental standards and regulations, the permitting process only takes two to three years. In U.S., it takes on average seven to 10 years. Luke Russell, vice president of external affairs at Hecla Mining Company, described it as “by far the most arduous and torturous process in the world.”
Moreover, a new SNL Metals & Mining study recently affirmed that the prolonged permitting process discourages investment, causing some projects to become “an unviable investment.” Mark Fellows, director of consulting at SNL Metals & Mining explained:
“What we found is that on average, a typical mining project loses over one-third of its economic value as a result of protracted delays in receiving the numerous permits needed to begin production. The longer the wait, the more the value of the investment is eroded.”
As a result of the delays in the mine permitting process, manufacturers are forced to look elsewhere for the raw materials they need, risking investment dollars and increasing our dependence on mineral imports.
Rep. Amodei’s bill will allow for greater access to our country’s vast mineral reserve in order to meet the high demand for minerals and metals, further strengthening domestic manufacturing, and ultimately, the American economy. NMA is encouraged by yesterday’s House Committee hearing, as it shows there is growing recognition and support in Washington to revitalize the United States’ mineral supply chain and improve the efficiency of the duplicative permitting process.
Take action to support this legislation here.