U.S. Mines to Market Study Shows Importance of Minerals to Manufacturing

Posted on September 25, 2014 by Minerals Make Life

Yesterday, the National Mining Association (NMA) released U.S. Mines to Market, a study by SNL Metals & Mining that tracks U.S. minerals through to their end-use in finished products and looks at the contributions of U.S. mined commodities to the manufacturing sector.  This study highlights the extent to which minerals produced in the United States feed the domestic manufacturing industry and influence the success of almost every sector from high-tech and automotive to national defense, energy and medical industries.

Below, see some of the key highlights from the study:

The U.S. mining sector is ideally positioned to support manufacturers’ need for greater sustainability and shorter supply chains in the production process.

With one of the largest mineral endowments in the world, valued at $6.2 trillion, the United States is well equipped to support shorter supply chains that will meet the needs of manufacturers. Some of the U.S.’ immense mineral reserves, including iron ore, copper, gold, platinum, zinc and potash, provide critical minerals to the nation’s manufacturing, energy, agriculture and defense industries. However, the permitting process for new minerals mines in the United States is inefficient, duplicative and impedes investment, thus hindering mine development, slowing down supply chains across the country.

As the U.S. manufacturing sector continues to grow, the importance of a secure, stable, reliable and sustainable raw material supply is increasing.

As NMA’s president and CEO, Hal Quinn has shared in the past, increased globalization comes with unique risks and challenges, including increased vulnerability to international conflicts and political strikes. As manufacturing grows and returns to U.S. shores, consumers are becoming more concerned with more than just the final product; they are looking to the supply chain in the production of their goods. For that reason, greater domestic mineral production provides a more stable supply of raw materials that is less subject to geopolitics and price disruptions and is one that ensures credible sustainability.

The permitting process for new mineral and metal mines in the U.S. makes it harder to reduce dependence on foreign-sourced raw materials.

Though the U.S. has an abundant and diverse mineral supply, the difficult and lengthy permitting process prevents the country from becoming a competitive producer.  With the current permitting system, the average waiting period for a mine to start production is seven to ten years. For instance, Rosemont Mine, which could potentially be the country’s third largest copper producer, is more than seven years into the permitting process. This slow progress deters domestic investment, stifles supply chain productivity and hinders job growth.

U.S. Mines to Market is further evidence that Congress must act on this important issue. The House just passed “The Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act” for the third time, and NMA urges the Senate to take up similar legislation to foster U.S. competitiveness and innovation.

Read the full study here.

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