There’s No National Security Without Mineral Security

Posted on May 24, 2024 by Minerals Make Life

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What You Need to Know:

  • America’s dependence on mineral imports threatens the safety and security of our nation.
  • We need bold and swift action to fully secure our domestic mineral supply chains.
  • Establishing our mineral security will pave the way for economic and environmental security for both America and our allies.

Letter From The President and CEO:

As the nation heads into the Memorial Day weekend, I’m reminded of the sacrifice the men and women of the U.S. armed forces make to keep us safe. They commit their livelihoods, time and energy to protect our great nation. To support them in this endeavor, policymakers need to help secure the mineral supply chains essential to our national security. Minerals are essential to producing armor, safety gear, advanced weapons systems, military equipment and the communication devices our armed forces rely on while protecting our nation. Without secure, stable access to these materials, America’s defense capabilities would be severely compromised, and our country would be in grave danger.

Unfortunately, America is highly dependent on other countries for many of the minerals it needs for our national security. According to the U.S. Geological Survey’s latest Mineral Commodities Report, the U.S. relies on imports for more than one-half of the country’s consumption of 49 different minerals and 100 percent import-dependent for 15 of them. Many of these imports come from China, which provides 24 of the 49 commodities with a greater than 50 percent import reliance. China dominates the global production and processing of rare earth elements, such as lithium, cobalt, graphite, gallium, germanium and other strategic minerals, which we need to build military technologies. China has used its mineral leverage as a political and economic weapon, threatening to cut off supplies and imposing export restrictions on countries that challenge its interests. This poses a serious risk to America’s national security, especially as tensions between the two superpowers escalate over trade, technology, human rights and geopolitics.

The recent tariffs on Chinese goods and the recent ban on Russian uranium are positive steps to reduce America’s dependence on foreign minerals, but they are not enough. We must develop a strong domestic mineral supply chain to meet our current and future national security needs. This means increasing the exploration, mining and processing of mineral resources within our own borders. It also means streamlining the permitting processes that currently hinder the development of new mining projects. It means investing in workforce development, education, and research to ensure America has the knowledge and skills to regain its mineral leadership.

A strong domestic mineral supply chain is vital for national security and economic growth, job creation and environmental standards. By producing more minerals at home, America can reduce its trade deficit, create thousands of high-paying jobs and support local communities, all while adhering to the world’s top environmental and labor standards. By increasing its mineral independence, America can also support its allies and partners who share its values and interests, including those who may also face mineral shortages or supply chain disruptions. A strong domestic mineral supply chain is a win-win proposition for America and the world.

Thank you,

Rich Nolan
NMA President and CEO

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