During an election unlike any other, the National Mining Association (NMA) remained a non-partisan voice for the mining industry. Fortunately, securing the mineral supply chains that are the foundation of our American way of life is a bipartisan issue and NMA stands ready to work with the Biden administration to address it. Through strategic partnerships, education and advocacy, we will spotlight the real-world applications of metals and minerals to demonstrate the need to act now to reduce our reliance on foreign sources of minerals.
Even with bipartisan attention, it will take commitment inside Washington and out to bring about real changes to U.S. mining policy. The challenge is clear: For more than two decades our import reliance has increased year-over-year. As of last year, we were 100 percent reliant on foreign sources for 17 mineral resources and more than 50 percent import dependent for another 29 minerals. Our import reliance weakens our supply chains and imperils our economy, technology and energy future, military, and overall way of life. This Achilles heel has motivated political leaders to propose solutions to address this vulnerability through commonsense policies along with increased investment in research and development projects. Unfortunately, these efforts have been proposed for years with no tangible results.
The pandemic, however, may provide the impetus for action. COVID-19 has opened the eyes of political leaders and the public to the impacts of supply shortages. More people are thinking about the raw materials required for everyday goods than ever before. That can, and should, motivate the changes to minerals policy that our country needs. The pandemic has also undoubtedly shown the capabilities of America’s domestic mining industry, especially its ability to adjust and continue operations under the circumstances while protecting miners’ health and safety. Stricter protocols have been implemented alongside technological innovations that elevate our industry in ways unrivaled globally.
Operations across the U.S. are willing and able to reach their full potential if given the necessary policy environment to do so. With a vast supply of metals worth an estimated $6.2 trillion, the United States is capable of once again being a global minerals mining leader if we adopt policies than enable rather than hinder domestic mining. Keeping this top of mind, we will work with both parties to push forward, creating new channels for growth in mining.
NMA and its member companies remain dedicated to the values that built our country and believe with the support of our leaders in Washington and the hard work of all the individuals that make up our industry, we can be the global leader in minerals mining. Even though party politics can divide our country, I know that many American voters are able to put these differences aside when important issues such as economic recovery and national security are on the line.
NMA President and CEO