Why the U.S. Needs Mine Permitting Reform
May 23, 2023
Nearly two decades ago, the U.S. attracted almost 20 percent of t...
It’s a new year and the mining industry can anticipate new growth in the months ahead as the demand for minerals-intensive technologies and materials tests the speed and scale of the global minerals supply. Now more than ever, the strength of U.S. minerals supply chains will dictate our ability to take on the climate challenge, deploy battery-powered transportation, rebuild infrastructure and connect online. Here is a list of what to expect in 2022 as the growing demand for minerals brings newfound understanding of why expanding domestic mining operations should be a national priority.
The administration’s infrastructure package is now law, set to take shape in the form of new construction projects across the country. Where bridges, highways and ports need repairs, there should be emphasis on making sure those efforts begin from the mine up. From steel beams to copper wiring, American mining operations can provide the materials our country needs.
At the end of last year, the White House released its Electric Vehicle Charging Action Plan, which highlighted the importance of strengthening domestic supply chains to outcompete China with an American-made EV fleet. Currently, China is the leading producer and/or supplier of 66 percent of mineral commodities listed as essential to U.S. economic and national security including lithium, rare earths and other battery metals. Without stable, domestic sources for these minerals, American companies remain beholden to imports or face the growing challenge of obtaining them at all. As the administration pursues its electrification agenda, we can expect more collaborative efforts between U.S. automakers and mining companies to stabilize the minerals supply.
The pandemic has accelerated the pace of change in the U.S. mining industry. On display at MINExpo INTERNATIONAL® 2021, minerals mining operations are adapting to new ways of working and investing in smart mining technologies that provide for a safer and more efficient production process.
An increasingly efficient and productive domestic mining industry is essential to the nation’s future. It doesn’t take a crystal ball to see that mining companies are going to be at the core of policy priorities on the road ahead. Manufacturers, energy experts and policymakers all can see that there’s no path forward that doesn’t involve mining. The question for 2022 is whether U.S. policymakers want to continue leaning on imports for the minerals we need or choose to support American mining operations. With the necessary access to resources and timely permit approvals, 2022 could be the start of a mining renaissance.
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