Hal Quinn on U.S. Military’s Need for Minerals and Metals
April 10, 2015
National Mining Association’s President and CEO Hal Quinn...
May is National Military Appreciation Month and we join the nation in paying tribute to generations of men and women who serve in the U.S. military and pay the ultimate sacrifice in defending our freedom.
Throughout the nation’s history, the U.S. mining industry has played a vital role in aiding our military and national defense by providing the raw materials needed to produce the advanced technologies that keep our troops safe and properly equipped. From the obvious to the unseen, minerals and metals are the essential components of most military technologies.
In total, the U.S. Department of Defense uses 750,000 tons of minerals each year in technologies used by the troops that protect our nation. Manganese and molybdenum, for example, are essential to the production of high-strength steel used for armored vehicles; aluminum, because of its unique strength-to-weight ratio and anti-corrosive properties, is a key structural component in aircrafts; lastly, the magnetic capabilities of rare earths—and their ability to resist demagnetization at high temperatures—are what lend missiles their necessary precision.
In order for the U.S. mining industry to meet the military’s pressing demand for minerals and metals, the U.S. needs to improve its duplicative and inefficient mine permitting process. Currently, obtaining a mining permit in the U.S. takes seven to 10 years, further increasing our import dependence and exposing our military to supply disruptions. Congress must pass legislation to improve access to these essential minerals. Fortunately, there is proposed legislation that will do just that: Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) “American Mineral Security Act of 2015” aims to modernize the U.S. mine permitting process and better prepare our country to meet the competitive challenges we face in supporting members of our military.
Access to minerals is crucial to national defense. Take action here to improve the U.S. mining permitting process and support our armed forces.