Experts Right To Highlight Mineral Needs of Growing U.S. Manufacturing Sector

Washington, D.C. — The National Mining Association (NMA) is encouraged by today’s House subcommittee hearing on “America’s Metals and Mineral Security,” which demonstrates growing recognition among policymakers, industry leaders and security experts that America needs a strong and stable supply of domestic minerals. The Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, led by Chairman Doug Lamborn (R- Colo.), is appropriately drawing attention to the critical role minerals and metals play in the manufacture of conventional and renewable energy components, consumer electronics and defense technologies, among countless other products crucial to the U.S. economy.

With better access to the $6.2 trillion worth of raw materials found right here in the United States –including copper, gold, silver, zinc, beryllium, iron ore and platinum group metals – manufacturers would find greater incentive to return to our shores. According to preliminary research findings in an SNL Metals and Mining report commissioned by NMA, the use of domestically-sourced minerals could shorten manufacturers’ supply chains, reduce logistical and transportation costs, ensure environmental and social accountability of sourced materials and better cushion companies against supply disruption risks. Recognizing this opportunity, a diverse group of 38 companies and organizations, representing nearly every sector of the American economy, recently asked Congress to send critical minerals legislation to President Barack Obama for his signature.

However, as outlined in today’s hearing, much of our resources remain locked underground by an outdated mining permitting system plagued by unnecessary delays and redundancies at the local, state and federal levels. In order to provide every opportunity for domestic manufacturers, NMA strongly urges members of Congress to work together to ensure timely, responsible access to U.S. mineral and metal resources.

The bi-partisan “National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2013,” which passed the House in September 2013, addresses several of the national mineral challenges outlined in today’s hearing and ensures efficient, timely and thorough permit reviews without reducing any of the country’s strict environmental protections. It is now time for the Senate to pass similar legislation that thoughtfully addresses the nation’s minerals needs and allays supply concerns.