April 05, 2013
General Motors, one of America’s biggest automakers has plans t...
In this month’s edition of ei Magazine, Hal Quinn, president and CEO of the National Mining Association (NMA), highlights the National Electrical Manufacturing Association’s (NEMA) need for U.S. mine permitting reform to support domestic manufacturing. NEMA’s members –manufacturers that produce a diverse range of electrical equipment and medical imaging systems–have experienced supply chain issues and face difficulties obtaining the raw materials needed to produce its products. In fact, as Hal Quinn explains:
“Three years ago, NEMA members had to ask the U.S. Department of Energy for a two-year delay in meeting new energy efficiency standards for fluorescent tube lamps because there weren’t enough domestic minerals available to meet the new rules in time.”
Minerals and metals are key components in the makeup of today’s electrical, medical and emerging energy technologies. As Quinn explains, “From lighting and superconducting materials to medical imaging technology and wind turbines… [they] all rely on minerals.” But the current mine permitting process makes it difficult for NEMA members to access the minerals and metals they need.
And NEMA isn’t alone. Plagued by bureaucratic inefficiencies and protracted delays, the current U.S. mine permitting process, which takes on average seven to 10 years, makes it extremely difficult for manufacturers to source the resources they need in a timely manner. As the “Made in the U.S.A” trend continues and we experience a manufacturing renaissance, this creates a serious problem for manufacturers trying to reshore their businesses. Quinn explains,
“As the U.S. manufacturing renaissance continues to gain momentum, a report by SNL Metals & Mining, U.S. Mines to Market, finds that a gross structural mismatch between domestic mineral supply and demand threatens its continued growth. This dynamic exists despite the U.S. having $6.2 trillion worth of minerals and metals reserves, including silver and copper, that are essential to various technologies developed by NEMA members.”
Fortunately, there is growing recognition in Washington of the need for mine permitting reform. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) have introduced legislation in Congress that aim to make the U.S. mine permitting system more efficient and ensure access to the nation’s vast mineral wealth. NEMA President and CEO Kevin J. Cosgriff testified on the merits of Sen. Murkowski’s mine permitting reform in May, saying:
“This legislation is about the government enabling U.S. manufacturers to compete fairly into the future because they will have access to the information, the minerals, and the other resources they need to conduct business.”
Furthermore, as Quinn explains, with a growing population and more technological innovations being adopted across the world, the need for U.S. minerals and metals is increasing more than ever.
“As the world’s population grows and developing countries embrace new technologies,” Quinn says, “products relying on greater combinations of minerals will come to market, further accelerating demand for minerals and the need for reliable and stable supplies here at home.”
In order for the U.S. to see continued growth in domestic manufacturing and meet U.S. manufacturers’ demand for minerals and metals, Congress must enact policies that modernize the U.S. mine permitting process.
Take action here to support U.S. mine permitting reform.