Structures find their strength and stability from their base. A building without a solid foundation is doomed to fail. Similarly, an economy without energy security is certain to falter. That’s why Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent shockwaves through the global, post-pandemic economy, sending the cost of oil, natural gas, electricity and nearly every other good and service skyrocketing. As policymakers struggle to respond, we must understand and learn an important lesson. The building blocks of our economic and national security depend on the viability of its foundation: the raw material inputs that power it.
Whether it’s oil and gas or minerals and metals, too much dependency on foreign nations weakens our economy and endangers our national security. As the U.S. transitions to electric vehicles, and adds more solar and wind capacity, our mineral import dependence will be our next Achille’s heel. In 2021, the U.S. was more than 50 percent import-dependent for 47 minerals and 100 percent import dependent for 17 of these.
With leadership in Washington, D.C., the U.S. can prioritize mineral production and processing, ensuring a strong foundation for our future economy. To do this, policymakers must resist attempts to add duplicative reviews and new unsustainable fees to minerals mining. These changes will only further delay the minerals projects needed to secure our country’s EV future.
The U.S. is home to an estimated $6.2 trillion in mineral resources and is more than capable of producing the copper, lithium, cobalt and nickel needed for EV batteries, solar panels and wind turbines, and the associated transmission and charging infrastructure. We could also re-establish our once dominant uranium mining industry and provide the fuel for our nation’s nuclear power plants. At every turn, our import dependence is both outsized and unnecessary.
The global race is on as energy security now hinges on minerals security. Our EV ambitions demand policies that encourage more domestic mining and policymakers can support that by addressing duplicative reviews and elongated and expensive timelines for new mine permits.
To ensure the future of U.S. economic and national security we need a comprehensive minerals strategy that addresses short and long-term efforts by working with allies to secure more minerals, encouraging more domestic production, prioritizing recycling and reuse, and taking practical steps towards securing our supply chains. It’s time to end unnecessary imports from unstable sources.
With attention and efforts toward accessing mining permits, our country can dig good ground toward a greener and brighter economy. Read our latest blog to discover more.