Boost to domestic mining will reduce dependence on China
Washington. The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) today praised the Trump administration for issuing an executive order to secure domestic U.S. sources of critical minerals, including rare earth metals. The order will task the Department of the Interior with developing a program to fund domestic mineral processing needed for national security. It will also address America’s broken mine permitting system, which has resulted in an alarming increase in mineral import reliance.
“We congratulate the president and his team for this long-overdue step to save U.S. mining,” said CPA Chair Dan DiMicco. “Over the past two decades, the United States has become alarmingly reliant on countries like China to supply the metals and minerals needed for both national defense and advanced technologies. As the COVID pandemic demonstrated, any nation that is overly reliant on imports of crucial commodities faces a serious chokehold in times of crisis. Securing the domestic production of these important resources will put our nation on a stronger economic footing and grow high-tech industries currently dominated by China.”
Although the United States possesses some of the world’s leading mineral reserves, the nation is now 100 percent dependent on imports for 17 key minerals. The U.S. is also more than 50 percent dependent on imports for another 29 mineral commodities. Each year, the United States imports roughly $6 billion worth of minerals from other countries. China in particular dominates the production of rare earth metals crucial to the production of medical equipment, digital technologies, and renewable energy systems.
Much of America’s import reliance stems from a broken mining approval system. It now takes as much as 10 years to secure a mine permit in the United States—far longer than the two to three years required for comparably strict approvals in Canada and Australia.
“It’s troubling how dependent the United States has become on mining in China and other countries,” said Michael Stumo, CEO of the CPA. “When we consider the toxic practices used to refine rare earth metals in China, for example, or the child labor used to extract cobalt in the Congo, there’s simply no excuse not to mine these resources safely at home. We congratulate the administration for working to secure a safe, environmentally responsible mining industry. And we appreciate the president’s focus on creating a recycling industry for critical metals along with the technology needed to make it possible.”
Read more about the need to rebuild America’s mining industry.
Melissa Tallman, Marketing and Communications Director
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