Hal Quinn: A Mining Policy for the Future
March 27, 2014
This week, National Mining Association President and CEO Hal Qu...
Last week, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) introduced a bill that would impose additional taxes and redundant regulatory costs on minerals mining – essentially taking away critical revenue and employment opportunities by discouraging important mining investment.
DeFazio’s proposal overlooks the tremendous value of mining operations on federal land including high-paying jobs and billions of dollars in tax revenue for local and state communities, which helps build roads, schools, hospitals and pay for important community services.
Nancy Gravatt, National Mining Association spokeswoman, explains:
“It is actually a very foundational, building-block industry to the economy,” she said. She stressed that the effects would be widely felt in other sectors because manufacturers rely heavily on minerals, such as gold and lithium, to produce materials in defense equipment, computers and electric car batteries. In response to the bill’s environmental considerations, Gravatt said regulations are already in place that prevent companies from leaving behind any kind of environmental damage. In proposing new mines, companies are required to create plans to return lands to their previous conditions; Gravatt noted, “there is a financial assurance requirement, which is like a surety bond, that the company puts up to guarantee the funds are there for carrying out the closure plan.”
Rather than introducing bills that would raise the cost of mining on federal lands, the nation would be better served with policies that would speed up the mining permitting process and reverse the nation’s growing dependency on foreign metals and minerals. Today, it can take mining companies up to seven to 10 years to receive a mining permit – one of the slowest and least efficient permitting processes in the world. Additionally, the U.S. is wholly dependent on foreign sources for 19 critical minerals that are necessary to countless U.S. industries and national defense.
We need a mining policy for the future that encourages domestic mining investment and make use of our nation’s vast resources – all while supporting American innovation and manufacturing, economic growth and national security.
Learn more about this issue here.