November 08, 2019
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Today, the United States is 100 percent import reliant on 21 key minerals and more than 50 percent import reliant on an additional 29 minerals. In a recent Congressional hearing held by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) called attention to the severity of this situation, stressing the importance of minerals to critical industries and our nation.
This “Achilles’ heel” is the byproduct of a lengthy and outdated mine permitting process that is well past due for reform. It can take anywhere from seven to 10 years to secure a mine permit in the U.S. This extended timeline disincentivizes investment in domestic mineral mining projects. Although we are blessed with significant mineral reserves, the U.S. accounts for a mere seven percent of worldwide spending on mineral exploration – a harsh reality that stifles job creation and economic growth.
By restricting access to domestic resources, critical industries are left vulnerable to supply chain disruptions. For example, the Department of Defense uses 750,000 tons of minerals each year to produce the equipment our military relies on. Without reliable supplies of minerals like copper, molybdenum and silver, our national security is put at risk.
Our nation is home to $6.2 trillion worth of mineral reserves. By streamlining the mine permitting process, industries like defense and manufacturing will have access to a wealth of untapped mineral resources – helping reverse our import reliance once and for all.
To learn more about our import reliance and supply chain security, see our infographic.