The global mining industry recently met at MINExpo International® in Las Vegas, Nev. After a five-year hiatus, this year’s event came at a pivotal time for our industry. The minerals-intensive nature of the global energy transition, paired with ongoing pandemic-related supply chain concerns, has catapulted mining into the public eye unlike ever before. The industry’s message to the world was clear: we are ready to support the exploding demand for mined materials associated with the world’s energy, transportation, infrastructure and manufacturing needs – and can do so using the world’s most advanced technologies – but we need policymakers to help us get there.
Over three days, some of the brightest minds in mining showcased the innovative and cutting-edge products that are driving the industry’s environmentally responsible production: sensors, advanced instrumentation, AI, robotics, automation, mobile technology, and data analytics. The event also celebrated the innovations and technologies advancing the high standards for mine safety, awarding 40 American mining operations with Sentinels of Safety Awards, and recognizing four companies with the U.S. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health’s Mine Safety and Health Technology Innovation Awards.
During the opening session, a distinguished panel of industry leaders discussed the current state of the mining and how the collective mindset has shifted toward prioritizing innovation across all aspects of the business. From reducing CO2 emissions and improving safety, to empowering community stakeholders and up-leveling recruitment efforts, comprehensive advancements are underway. Several panelists touched on the need for more awareness about the critical role mining plays in the global economy, and the scale of investments required for American companies to truly become the miners of the future. Reporters covering the event highlighted how different proposals in Congress could either support or severely obstruct domestic industry.
If the U.S. is to tackle infrastructure modernization and lead the world in deploying new energy technologies, a strong domestic mining industry will be essential to unleashing American innovation for generations to come. Auto manufacturers, energy experts and leaders from other sectors of the economy understand this reality. For too long, the U.S. has ceded control of the front end of our manufacturing supply chains to foreign nations, assuming the materials we require will be there when we need them. As the pandemic has shown, being over reliant on foreign nations, whether ally or adversary, is not a winning strategy. We must recognize that domestic mining is foundational to our infrastructure, energy and climate policy, and advance policies that will help rebuild our domestic production capabilities.
As governments across the world push to develop and deploy advanced energy technologies and confront the climate challenges, the importance of our industry has never been so widely acknowledged as it is today. This increased attention made for one of the most impactful MINExpo events in history – the world is now watching to see how policymakers will respond.
NMA President and CEO