As policymakers return to our nation’s capital in 2024, one thing is certain: the U.S. faces a mineral supply challenge that demands action. New energy technologies require a vast array of metals and minerals, and the global demand for these elements will only continue to grow in 2024 and beyond as they are widely deployed. The future of America’s manufacturing, energy and infrastructure will depend on a secure and stable supply of minerals. If it’s made in America, it should be mined in America.
To achieve this vision, we must shore up our domestic mineral production efforts. We have the mineral resources on American soil and the expertise to mine them responsibly, but we need Congress to streamline the U.S. permitting process to remove duplication and endless review cycles and the Biden administration to then allow the process to proceed as intended.
Our nation’s duplicative and burdensome permitting policies prevent American miners from accessing U.S. mineral resources. Outside of the traditional permitting process, the administration is simply making it harder to mine in the U.S. through land withdrawals and national monument designations, cancelled leases, and reconsideration of previously approved projects. As a result, the U.S. has become increasingly dependent on geopolitical adversaries for minerals we could – and should – be sourcing ourselves. This puts the U.S. in a dangerous position; by relying on countries like China and Russia, U.S. economic and national security is plainly at risk.
In addition to the permitting improvements that are needed to pave the way for a strong domestic supply chain, the U.S. also needs training and workforce development support. There is bipartisan support for legislation like the Mining Schools Act of 2022, which includes the addition of government-funded technology grants to support workforce development, along with manufacturing and production tax credits and incentives to spur mining investments.
Without action on permitting, support for the mining industry and its growth and a changed mindset from the administration on the importance of domestic projects, our country will face the same problems it faced last year. Until then, we can expect to remain dependent on imports and weather unstable supply chains. The U.S. shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to lead the development and manufacturing of new energy technologies because of a lack of domestically mined materials.
NMA President and CEO