On Manufacturing Day, minerals’ importance to manufacturing can’t be overstated

Posted on October 04, 2013 by Minerals Make Life

As facilities across the country open their doors to the public to mark the 2nd Annual Manufacturing Day, there has never been a better time to highlight the numerous crucial components, services and supply chains that manufacturers depend on to compete in a global economy. Chief among them are critical minerals, including rare earth minerals and metals.

Whether in renewable energy products, consumer electronics or refrigeration systems, critical minerals can be seen in use throughout numerous manufacturing applications.

Until a decade ago, the United States was 100 percent self-reliant on these minerals, with domestic companies producing enough to supply U.S. manufacturers.  Over time, however, U.S. production was halted, as it became economically and environmentally cost prohibitive and as competing countries championed investment in mining and production.

As a result of this downturn in production, the United States is now dependent on other countries to supply these vital minerals. This has resulted in global shortages and significant increases in the price of these minerals. Many manufacturers across the country are feeling the negative impacts of our lack of a steady and reliable minerals supply chain.

The NAM has been supportive of congressional efforts to create an environment to encourage more efficient development of these domestic resources, streamline the approval process and reduce the time and resources spent on frivolous legal action.

But more importantly, we believe that any comprehensive solution needs to address the problem in an expedited manner that is flexible enough to take into account the unique aspects of a dynamic manufacturing sector.   

We’ll continue to work with allies like the National Mining Association as we work to ensure the administration, Capitol Hill and elected officials across the country make this issue a priority so that manufacturers can continue to compete, grow their businesses and create jobs.

Chad Moutray serves as Chief Economist at the National Association of Manufacturers. Chip Yost serves as Assistant Vice President for Energy and Resources Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers.

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