National Defense Through Minerals Security

Posted on October 13, 2011 by Minerals Make Life

By Hal Quinn, President and CEO, National Mining Association

A Pentagon report to Congress revealed that our nation’s reliance on China for rare earth minerals could weaken U.S. military efforts. Essential to a range of defense technologies, including night vision goggles and fighter aircraft, rare earths help prepare our military and protect our nation.

The report also noted the strategic importance of rare earths. U.S. industries depend on imports for 100 percent of their rare earths supplies, and growing demand from developing countries means the U.S. must compete for these resources on the international market. Import dependence also exposes the United States to supply disruptions and export restrictions in producing countries.

Fortunately, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates there are 13 million metric tons of rare earth minerals in known U.S. deposits. If we overcome the roadblocks to U.S. minerals development, these resources will decrease our imports, bolster national security and create much-needed jobs.

At the Alaska Strategic and Critical Minerals Summit last month, experts identified an update of the mining permitting process as a crucial step toward accessing domestic rare earths production. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Doug Lamborn agree, and continue to encourage legislation that would increase U.S. minerals production.

As our country faces rising competition and the threat of mineral supply disruptions, we must utilize resources to our strategic advantage and build a stable supply of the minerals vital to our nation’s security.

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