The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed our dangerous dependence on foreign supply chains for nearly every sector of the economy. As states continue to open across the country, we must focus on investing in and establishing domestic supply chains to help speed our economic recovery and make us more resilient to future crises. According to Morning Consult polling data, American voters are increasingly concerned and want to secure our domestic supply chains with U.S.-sourced materials. Policymakers share those concerns, as evidenced by the introduction last week of the American Critical Mineral Exploration and Innovation Act, legislation that would begin reforming the permitting policies that have stifled domestic metal mining.
That reform is sorely needed. Look no further than the latest World Bank Group report, which indicates that the production of some minerals could increase by 500 percent by 2050 given the demands that will stem from the production of new technologies. The United States can and should focus on the policy reforms that will allow it to respond to those increasing demands, developing our mineral resources valued at more than $6.2 trillion and expanding the 1.2 million jobs that stem from mining.
Even as Congress considers this important legislation, mining operations across America continue to extract essential minerals – supporting our country with sustainable production to help push past this period of hardship. Mines are home to some of the most technologically advanced facilities in existence that, when paired with the latest social distancing, health and safety protocols, have allowed the industry to continue operations during a time of crisis and stay ahead of the curve. We have been at the forefront of technological innovation – using drones and autonomous vehicles to improve workplace safety and now support safe practices amidst COVID-19. While the use of technology does not replace the human element of our mines, it has played a crucial role in keeping workers safe by reducing the threat of the spread of viruses.
The American mining industry is actively supporting our nation’s economic recovery. We now need the support of Congress to ensure our nation has an opportunity to access and develop the minerals already at our disposal, at the mines we can depend on.
NMA President and CEO