Unreliable mineral supplies impede US innovation

Posted on November 22, 2013 by Minerals Make Life

“A new high-tech product that’s ever more innovative and exciting than the last makes news every few weeks,” said Hal Quinn, president and CEO of the National Mining Association, in a recent EBN piece. “But whether it’s Google glasses, 3D printers, or flexible displays for electronics, the groundbreaking, in-demand technologies shaping our future have one thing in common — they’re all dependent on minerals.”

In the 1980s, computer chips were made with 12 minerals. A decade later, 16 were used. Today, as many as 60 different minerals and their constituent elements are used in the production of this technology. Hi-def televisions require 35 different minerals, while smartphones are composed of as many as 42 different minerals, including aluminum, beryllium, gold, iron, and silver.

Quinn explains that a duplicative federal permitting process forces U.S. manufacturers to import more than half of their minerals, despite the wealth of minerals within the United States, resulting in risky supply chains and limited domestic economic growth.

In order to keep up with global innovation and ensure success for the companies developing and manufacturing the technology of tomorrow, our nation needs a sound minerals strategy that promotes responsible domestic development.

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