November 08, 2019
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Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) and Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) recently introduced the “National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act.” This new bill could strengthen the future of minerals mining and provide a dramatic boost to the U.S. economy. This legislation is also vital to President Trump’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure package, which will require a significant increase in access to our nation’s raw mineral resources.
The mining industry provides the minerals and metals necessary for infrastructure and development—from equipment and manufacturing technologies to our roads, bridges and skyscrapers. Without timely access to these resources, we cannot build, repair and improve U.S. infrastructure.
Presently, the mine permitting process is plagued with redundancies and protracted delays that can extend the mine permitting process an average seven to 10 years. These delays hinder our ability to meet the growing global demand for mineral resources in a timely manner, discouraging investment in U.S. mining projects. Other countries like Canada and Australia, with similar environmental standards, typically issue permit decisions in just 18 to 24 months.
In response to a House Subcommittee hearing on the newly proposed legislation, National Mining Association President and CEO Hal Quinn stated, “By incorporating best practices for coordination among federal and state agencies, setting reasonable deadlines and clarifying responsibilities, H.R. 520 provides a much-needed pathway for efficient, timely and thorough permit reviews.”
The significance of this legislation extends far beyond supporting the administration’s infrastructure plan. While the U.S. has an estimated $6.2 trillion worth of mineral resources, permitting delays force manufacturers to import minerals from other countries. According to the 2018 U.S. Geological Survey Mineral Commodity Summaries Report, we are now 50 percent or more import-dependent 50 key mineral commodities – and completely import-dependent for 21 of those.
Not only does this foreign reliance increase our risk of supply disruptions and hurt our industries, but it also threatens our country’s national defense. Many of these minerals are vital in the manufacture of military equipment such as jet fighter engines, armor that protects our troops, antimissile defense systems and night vision goggles.
As The American Enterprise Institute’s Mark J. Perry reminded us in his recent op-ed:
“A failure to act will undermine America’s ability to deal with the troubling reliance on foreign minerals and the benefits of increasing domestic production… it will further disconnect the nation’s mining industry from a global minerals marketplace that is likely to be worth hundreds of billions of dollars in the coming decades.”
It’s time to support domestic mining to spur economic growth, revitalize our infrastructure, create American jobs, decrease our important reliance and pave new paths for innovation. Congress must support this commonsense legislation. Check out our infographic to learn more about how minerals and metals are the key to our infrastructure revitalization.
To find out more about how the “National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act” can unlock our minerals potential, click here.