mining

Grijalva’s Clean Energy Minerals Reform Act Is the Wrong Solution for American Mining

The following article is written by Congressman Pete Stauber who represents Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District and serves as the ranking member of the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee. Raul Grijalva is chairman of the committee.

Everything in this world is either grown or mined, and if we don’t grow it or mine it in America, we import it. Events from the past few years, namely the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, have highlighted America’s hunger for metals, including copper, nickel, cobalt, platinum-group elements, and more. Therefore, Congress needs to boost domestic production. Instead, the majority is putting up more arbitrary hurdles, like the so-called Clean Energy Minerals Reform Act.

Don’t let the name fool you. This legislation, introduced by Chairman Grijalva (D-AZ) and being considered before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources this week, will make it even harder to access clean energy minerals domestically while furthering our reliance on Russia, China, and the Congo. The bill contains several provisions that contribute to longtime goals of the Left: dissuade investment in mining and choke projects to death with an unpredictable permitting process.

Talk to any miner, member of the building trades, or industry expert and you’ll hear the same frustration about mining in America: permitting timelines are too long, too uncertain, and incentivize lawsuits and trial lawyers. Take, for example, the PolyMet project in my northern Minnesota District which is approaching two decades of permitting and litigation. PolyMet proposes to mine copper, nickel, cobalt, and more. It has won every lawsuit thrown its way but is still being targeted by the Biden Administration. We cannot wait 20 years to get the nickel we need; not while state-owned Russian companies are dominating the market.

So, how does the Grijalva bill address our permitting timelines? By adding two more duplicative permit requirements. Adding these permits wouldn’t add just months or years, they could add decades to review. Every permit approval will be met with a lawsuit brought on by an activist group and met with a wink and a nod from a faceless bureaucrat in the Administration, dragging it out further and further. So, instead of PolyMet taking a mere 20 years, it’s a good possibility it could be 40 or 50 years under this Leftist dream.

The Grijalva bill also puts hardrock mining squarely in the crosshairs by upending the claims system. Hardrock mineral rights are established through mining claims. Companies then drill thousands of exploratory holes to determine if the resource is even economical to develop. Only about 1 in every 1,000 discoveries results in a mine. For example, the Twin Metals project in my district has already invested just shy of $1 billion in a new mine, before even starting the permitting process. The bill considered this week would make it an oil and gas-style leasing system, treating copper like you would natural gas, making it even less economical for companies to invest in American resources.

And finally, the bill imposes punitive royalties on hardrock mines in America. Every new mine that survives litigation would be subject to a 12.5% royalty. Meanwhile, existing mines aren’t immune either: a functioning mine would owe 8% of everything they extract to the federal government. Hardrock resources cover a wide variety of minerals, occur in unique geologic formations, and all have varying commodity prices. The one-size-fits-all royalty scheme proposed by Chairman Grijalva and President Biden in his Interagency Working Group Recommendations, like upending the claims system, is another bold attempt to shutter investment.

It makes no sense to subject such a wide variety of minerals to the same, inelastic royalty. For example, lithium in Nevada is derived from a salt brine, while copper and nickel in northern Minnesota will be pulled out of the ground as a solid ore. Meanwhile, mining in Minnesota funds every single school district in the state. If we slap the Grijalva Tax on mines in America, it’ll push companies looking to invest in Minnesota overseas.

America is facing a metals crisis. We can no longer rely on our foreign adversaries to supply us with the copper, nickel, cobalt, and other minerals we need for modern life. Instead of making it harder to mine American resources, as the Grijalva legislation does, there are steps Congress can take to make America an attractive place for mining.

First, we need to update the permitting process. It should not take 20 years to develop our natural resources. Reviews should be timely, transparent, and reasonable. We also need to limit the President’s authority to arbitrarily kill projects with the stroke of a pen. Just this past February, Biden chose to cancel the federal leases held by the Twin Metals project that date back to the 1960’s. Legislation I introduced, the Accessing America’s Critical Minerals Act and the Saving America’s Mines Act, would update our permitting process and end the President’s authority to kill mining with the stroke of a pen.

This week, as Congress considers the so-called Clean Energy Minerals Reform Act, don’t buy the rhetoric. Democrats proposed this legislation to make permitting more difficult and dissuade investment, making our supply chains even more crippled. Let’s instead consider serious proposals that grow mining in America and secure our domestic supply chains. (Source)

Notes:

I live in Grijalva’s district in Tucson, AZ, and know that he has long been an opponent of mining. Here are some of my posts on his actions:

Grijalva’s Proposed Change to Mining Law Would Be Disastrous for America

Mr. Grijalva, why imposing royalties on hard rock mining is a bad idea

Grijalva’s anti-jobs bills

See also: Mining and the bureaucracy

Mines, Minerals, and “Green” Energy: A Reality Check

Mines, Minerals, and “Green” Energy: A Reality Check
by Mark P. Mills, Manhattan Institute
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
As policymakers have shifted focus from pandemic challenges to economic recovery, infrastructure plans are once more being actively discussed, including those relating to energy. Green energy advocates are doubling down on pressure to continue, or even increase, the use of wind, solar power, and electric cars. Left out of the discussion is any serious consideration of the broad environmental and supply-chain implications of renewable energy.

This paper turns to a different reality: all energy-producing machinery must be fabricated from materials extracted from the earth. No energy system, in short, is actually “renewable,” since all machines require the continual mining and processing of millions of tons of primary materials and the disposal of hardware that inevitably wears out. Compared with hydrocarbons, green machines entail, on average, a 10-fold increase in the quantities of materials extracted and processed to produce the same amount of energy.

Among the material realities of green energy:
Building wind turbines and solar panels to generate electricity, as well as batteries to fuel electric vehicles, requires, on average, more than 10 times the quantity of materials, compared with building machines using hydrocarbons to deliver the same amount of energy to society.

A single electric car contains more cobalt than 1,000 smartphone batteries; the blades on a single wind turbine have more plastic than 5 million smartphones; and a solar array that can power one data center uses more glass than 50 million phones.

Replacing hydrocarbons with green machines under current plans—never mind aspirations for far greater expansion—will vastly increase the mining of various critical minerals around the world. For example, a single electric car battery weighing 1,000 pounds requires extracting and processing some 500,000 pounds of materials. Averaged over a battery’s life, each mile of driving an electric car “consumes” five pounds of earth. Using an internal combustion engine consumes about 0.2 pounds of liquids per mile.

Oil, natural gas, and coal are needed to produce the concrete, steel, plastics, and purified minerals used to build green machines. The energy equivalent of 100 barrels of oil is used in the processes to fabricate a single battery that can store the equivalent of one barrel of oil.

By 2050, with current plans, the quantity of worn-out solar panels—much of it nonrecyclable—will constitute double the tonnage of all today’s global plastic waste, along with over 3 million tons per year of unrecyclable plastics from worn-out wind turbine blades. By 2030, more than 10 million tons per year of batteries will become garbage.
(Download full report)

American Mineral Production for 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey has just released its annual summary of non-fuel mineral production in the U.S. for 2017. The estimated total value of domestically-mined, non-fuel minerals in the United States was $75.2 billion, a 6% increase from 2016.

The estimated value of metals production increased 12% to $26.3 billion. Principal contributors to the total value of metal mine production in 2017 were gold (38%), copper (30%), iron ore (12%), and zinc (8%).

The total value of industrial minerals production was $48.9 billion, a 3% increase from that of 2016. The main industrial minerals were crushed stone (31%), cement (20%), and construction sand and gravel (16%).

These mineral materials were, in turn, consumed by downstream industries to produce an estimated value of $2.94 trillion for the U.S. economy in 2017, a 3.5% increase from 2016. If you add in manufacturing which uses imported mineral products as well, the value of non-fuel minerals to the U.S. gross domestic product was $19.3 trillion in 2017.

Nevada captured first place in U.S. non-fuel mineral mining in 2017 with a production value of $8.68 billion, mainly from Gold.

Arizona was the second largest producer with a production value of $6.61, mainly from copper. Mike Conway of the Arizona Geological Survey summed up the Arizona 2017 highlights as follows:

1st in copper production with ~ 68% of domestic production.

2nd in gemstone production after Oregon and ahead of Idaho.

5th in producing sand and gravel for construction.

Other industrial minerals produced in Arizona in 2017: gypsum, dimension stone, clay, zeolites, bentonite, perlite, and salt.

6th in production of zeolites, and the only producer of chabazite.

Arizona joins six other states involved in helium production.

Arizona is one of five states with molybdenum production.

Arizona is a leader in Rhenium production with four of the six operations in the U.S.

The U.S. Geological Survey notes:

In 2017, U.S. production of 13 mineral commodities was valued at more than $1 billion each. These were, in decreasing order of value, crushed stone, gold, cement, copper, construction sand and gravel, industrial sand and gravel, iron ore, lime, zinc, phosphate rock, salt, soda ash, and clays (all types).

In 2017, 11 States each produced more than $2 billion worth of nonfuel mineral commodities. These States were, in descending order of production value, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Alaska, California, Minnesota, Florida, Utah, Missouri, Michigan, and Wyoming.

The US Geological Survey report shows that the U.S. is 100% reliant on imports for 22 minerals.

 

A note on reserves and resources from the U.S. Geological Survey:

Reserves data are dynamic. They may be reduced as ore is mined and (or) the feasibility of extraction diminishes, or more commonly, they may continue to increase as additional deposits (known or recently discovered) are developed, or currently exploited deposits are more thoroughly explored and (or) new technology or economic variables improve their economic feasibility. Reserves may be considered a working inventory of mining companies’ supplies of an economically extractable mineral commodity. As such, the magnitude of that inventory is necessarily limited by many considerations, including cost of drilling, taxes, price of the mineral commodity being mined, and the demand for it. Reserves will be developed to the point of business needs and geologic limitations of economic ore grade and tonnage. For example, in 1970, identified and undiscovered world copper resources were estimated to contain 1.6 billion metric tons of copper, with reserves of about 280 million tons of copper. Since then, almost 520 million tons of copper have been produced worldwide, but world copper reserves in 2017 were estimated to be 790 million tons of copper, more than double those of 1970, despite the depletion by mining of more than the original estimated reserves.

Future supplies of minerals will come from reserves and other identified resources, currently undiscovered resources in deposits that will be discovered in the future, and material that will be recycled from current in use stocks of minerals or from minerals in waste disposal sites. Undiscovered deposits of minerals constitute an important consideration in assessing future supplies.

You can read the entire 200-page report, MINERAL COMMODITY SUMMARIES 2018, at

https://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/mcs/2018/mcs2018.pdf

The report gives details of the status of 84 mineral commodities.

See also:

Coal – A Possible New Source of Rare Earth Elements

Critical mineral resources of the United States

History of the Silver Bell Mining District

The Arizona Geological Survey has just released another paper about Arizona mining: The History of the Silver Bell Mining District (AZGS Contributed Report CR-17-A). The paper is authored by geologist and mining historian David Briggs who has written about many of Arizona’s mining districts. The paper is available for free download (link).

The Silver Bell mine and the town of Silverbell are located about 36 miles northwest of Tucson, Arizona. It has produced copper and other metals since 1873 and silver since 1865. Prior to that, the Tohono O’odham Indians and/or their predecessors mined turquoise, hematite and clay, which were used for pottery, paint and decorative purposes.

The Silver Bell mine has had a colorful and sometimes contentious history. Briggs writes that “Over the past 150 years, the Silver Bell mining district evolved from a collection of small, intermittent, poorly financed and managed underground mining operations that struggled to make a profit from high-grade ores; to a small but profitable producer, deploying innovative mining practices and advancements in technology to successfully develop the district’s large, low-grade copper resource.”

Besides a detailed history of owners and operations, the report contains many historic photographs of the mining operations and the town.

Briggs: “Over past 130 years, the Silver Bell mining district yielded approximately 2.27 billion pounds of copper, 6.6 million pounds of molybdenum, 3.7 million pounds of lead, 40.8 million pounds of zinc, 2,100 ounces of gold, and 5.95 million ounces of silver.”

The mine now produces copper by leaching and electro-winning. Remaining reserves are reported to be 214.4 million tons, averaging 0.283% copper. Local geologists suspect there are more copper resources east and west of the active mining area, but that ground is effectively off-limits because it lies within Ironwood Forest National Monument. The monument was imposed over valid pre-existing mining claims. IFNM is one being reconsidered by the Trump administration.

Other papers by David Briggs:

History of the Ajo Mining District, Pima County, Arizona

History of the Warren (Bisbee) Mining District

History of the San Manuel-Kalamazoo Mine, Pinal County, Arizona

Recovery of Copper by Solution Mining Techniques

Superior, Arizona – An Old Mining Camp with Many Lives

History of the Copper Mountain (Morenci) Mining District

History of Helvetia-Rosemont Mining District, Pima County, Arizona

History of the Ajo Mining District, Pima County, Arizona by David Briggs

Geologist David Briggs has written another interesting paper on the history of mining in Arizona. This 18-page paper, History of the Ajo Mining District, Pima County, Arizona, was just published by the Arizona Geological Survey and is available as a free download: http://repository.azgs.az.gov/uri_gin/azgs/dlio/1710

I was particularly interesting in the Ajo paper because as a geologist, I conducted exploration at the mine and in the district. Although the mine is now inactive, there is remaining mineralization that can be mined given the right economic conditions. The Ajo orebody is particularly interesting to geologists because paleomagnetic and geologic evidence indicates that the Ajo ore deposit has been tilted to the south a total of approximately 120 degrees in two separate tectonic events. (Source) There is also speculation that a detached piece of the original orebody lies hidden nearby.

Briggs begins his story as follows: “The hostile environment of southwestern Arizona’s low desert presented many challenges to those who sought to discover and exploit the mineral wealth

of the region. Ajo’s remote location combined with hot summer days and scarce water created a number of obstacles that needed to be overcome. Despite these impediments, the district’s wealth was mined by Native Americans long before the arrival of first Spanish explorers, who recognized its potential soon after establishing outposts in this region.”

The Ajo area has a long history. Prior to the arrival of the first Spanish explorers in the 1530’s, the native Tohono O’odham Indians and their ancestors mined hematite, an iron oxide, which they used as body paint. Establishment of Spanish missions in Southern Arizona provided bases from which prospectors combed the country.

With the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo at the end of the Mexican American War on February 2, 1848, and the subsequent Gadsden Purchase in June 1854, many prospectors tried their luck at Ajo.

Briggs provides great detail as he recounts the many lives of mining ventures in Ajo. Following is a very brief sketch of major events.

The first formal mining began in 1855 and a wagon road was constructed to the railroad at Gila Bend. Ore was also sent by wagon to San Diego and shipped to Swansea, Wales for smelting. High transportation costs eventually made the venture uneconomic.

Briggs recounts the era between 1898 and 1908 when the Ajo deposit saw many promotions and fraudulent mining schemes.

In 1911, the Calumet and Arizona Mining Company, which was operating mines in Bisbee, became interested in the Ajo properties and acquired the New Cornelia Copper Company which owned Ajo at the time. Calumet began an extensive drilling program which confirmed the presence of a large sulfide body of mineralization. They began open pit mining in 1915.

In 1931, Phelps Dodge merged with Calumet and Arizona Mining Company and continued to operate the mine which they did until 1985 when a combination of low copper prices and stricter regulations for smelter air quality caused the company to close the mine.

The Ajo property is now owned by Freeport-McMoRan, Inc. through its merger with Phelps Dodge. According to Briggs, “Freeport continues to periodically assess the economic feasibility of returning the Ajo project to production. As of December 31, 2015, this project is estimated to contain a sulfide resource of 482 million short tons, averaging 0.40% copper, 0.010% molybdenum, 0.002 oz. of gold/ton and 0.023 oz. of silver/ton.”

Other papers by David Briggs, published by the Arizona Geological Survey:

History of the Warren (Bisbee) Mining District

History of the San Manuel-Kalamazoo Mine, Pinal County, Arizona

Recovery of Copper by Solution Mining Techniques

Superior, Arizona – An Old Mining Camp with Many Lives

History of the Copper Mountain (Morenci) Mining District

History of Helvetia-Rosemont Mining District, Pima County, Arizona

 

American mineral production for 2016

The U.S. Geological Survey has just released their annual summary of non-fuel mineral production in the U.S. for 2016. They estimate that the value of all non-fuel minerals produced from U.S. mines was $74.6 billion, a slight increase over production in 2015. “ Domestic raw materials and domestically recycled materials were used to process mineral materials worth $675 billion. These mineral materials were, in turn, consumed by downstream industries with an estimated value of $2.78 trillion in 2016.”

Principal contributors to the total value of metal mine production in 2016 were gold (37%), copper (29%), iron ore (15%), and zinc (7%). The estimated value of U.S. industrial minerals production in 2016 was $51.6 billion which was dominated by crushed stone (31%), cement (18%), and construction sand and gravel (17%).

Nevada was ranked first with a total mineral production value of $7.65 billion, mainly from gold. Arizona came in second in total production with a value of $5.56 billion and first in U.S. copper production. Texas, California, Minnesota, Florida, Alaska, Michigan, Wyoming, Missouri, and Utah, in that order, were next in value of production.

“In 2016, U.S. production of 13 mineral commodities was valued at more than $1 billion each. These were, in decreasing order of value, crushed stone, cement, construction sand and gravel, gold, copper, industrial sand and gravel, iron ore (shipped), lime, phosphate rock, salt, soda ash, zinc, and clays (all types).” Does that order surprise you?

Most of the material mined (stone, sand, lime, clay) is used in construction of our infrastructure.

Gold is used as coinage and to manufacture jewelry. Because gold does not corrode, it is used in solid state electronic devices that use very low voltages and currents which are easily interrupted by corrosion or tarnish at the contact points.

Copper is used mainly to generate and transmit electricity and it occurs in all our electronic devices.

Zinc is used for galvanizing to prevent corrosion and, combined with copper to make brass. Zinc is also combined with other metals to form materials that are used in automobiles, electrical components, and household fixtures. Zinc oxide is used in the manufacture of rubber and as a skin ointment.

Iron is used mainly to make steel.

Phosphate rock is used mainly as a fertilizer and also as a nutritional supplement for animals and humans.

Soda ash (sodium carbonate) is an essential raw material used in the manufacturing of glass, detergents chemicals, softening water, making baking soda, and used in many industrial products.

“U.S. mine production of copper in 2016 increased slightly, to about 1.41 million tons, and was valued at about $6.8 billion. Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Montana, and Michigan, in descending order of production, accounted for more than 99% of domestic mine production; copper also was recovered in Missouri. Twenty-four mines recovered copper, 17 of which accounted for about 99% of production.”

A note on reserves and resources:

Reserves data are dynamic. They may be reduced as ore is mined and (or) the feasibility of extraction diminishes, or more commonly, they may continue to increase as additional deposits (known or recently discovered) are developed, or currently exploited deposits are more thoroughly explored and (or) new technology or economic variables improve their economic feasibility. Reserves may be considered a working inventory of mining companies’ supplies of an economically extractable mineral commodity. As such, the magnitude of that inventory is necessarily limited by many considerations, including cost of drilling, taxes, price of the mineral commodity being mined, and the demand for it. Reserves will be developed to the point of business needs and geologic limitations of economic ore grade and tonnage. For example, in 1970, identified and undiscovered world copper resources were estimated to contain 1.6 billion metric tons of copper, with reserves of about 280 million tons of copper. Since then, more than 500 million tons of copper have been produced worldwide, but world copper reserves in 2016 were estimated to be 720 million tons of copper, more than double those of 1970, despite the depletion by mining of almost double the original estimated reserves.

mineral-industry-trends-2016

As can be seen in the table above, there was a decline in the production of coal, probably due to the rise in natural gas production. Metal production also decreased. According to the USGS, “Several U.S. metal mines and processing facilities were idled or closed permanently in 2016, including iron ore mines in Michigan and Minnesota; three primary aluminum smelters in Indiana, Missouri, and Washington; one secondary zinc smelter in North Carolina; a titanium sponge facility in Utah, the only such facility in the United States; and titanium mineral operations in Virginia.” In 2016, imports made up more than one-half of the U.S. apparent consumption of 50 non-fuel mineral commodities, and the United States was 100% import reliant for 20 of those.

The 200-page report gives detailed information for each commodity.

The full report is available online here: https://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/mcs/2017/mcs2017.pdf

History of the Warren Mining District, Bisbee, Arizona

The Arizona Geological Survey has just released a new report “History of the Warren (Bisbee) Mining District” located near the town of Bisbee in Southern Arizona. The author is economic geologist David Briggs. This well-illustrated,10-page report may be downloaded as a free PDF file (7.7Mb): http://repository.azgs.az.gov/sites/default/files/dlio/files/nid1648/cr-15-b_v1.0.pdf

Lavender pit

Over the life of the Warren mining district (1880-2013), 3,961,479 tons of copper, 162,128 tons of lead, 177,524 tons of zinc, 14,000 tons of manganese, 2,792,000 ounces of gold and 102,215,000 ounces of silver were recovered from the area’s mines. It was Arizona’s seventh largest copper producer, top producer of lead, second largest producer of zinc, fourth largest manganese producer, largest gold producer and second largest silver producer.

Citation: Briggs, D. F., 2015, “History of the Warren (Bisbee) Mining District, Arizona Geological Survey, Contributed Report CR-15-B.

Permitting, Economic Value, and Mining in the United States

A new report commissioned by the National Mining Association finds that our current convoluted mine permitting process can cause a mine to lose a third of its value as it waits for the numerous permits needed to begin production. These delays, combined with other risks and costs, cut the expected value of a mine in half. This often makes minerals projects economically unviable and jeopardizes an important feedstock of the manufacturing industry while discouraging investment in the U.S.

The report, produced by SNL Metals & Mining of London, can be downloaded here.

The report begins:

“Of all the developed nations, unexpected and often unnecessary delays in obtaining mining permits afflict the U.S. most severely. Despite being blessed with a vast reserve of mineral resources, the U.S. accounts for only 7 percent of world-wide spending on mineral exploration

and production is currently reliant on a population of mature mining projects. The average remaining life of active mines in the U.S. and the share of projects in advance development have also fallen in recent years. Meanwhile, the demand for minerals to supply the defense, advanced energy, high-tech electronics, medical, and transportation industries is rising. The U.S., while leading on the manufacturing of these technologies, is lagging in the production of the minerals needed to make them.”

It also notes:

“In the U.S., the requirement for multiple permits and multiple agency involvement is the norm, as is the involvement of other stakeholders, including local indigenous groups, the general public and non-governmental organizations. As a consequence of the country’s inefficient permitting system, it takes on average seven to 10 years to secure the permits needed to commence operations in the U.S. To put that into perspective, in Canada and Australia, countries with similarly stringent environmental regulations, the average permitting period is two years.”

Three examples cited by the report are examined in detail:

The Rosemont Copper

project in Arizona continues in its attempts to secure permits, five years after the originally planned start date of 2010. Over this period, the value of the project has fallen from $18 billion to $15 billion despite much higher copper prices.

The Kensington gold mine

in Alaska was plagued by permitting issues during development. It commenced production in 2010, nearly 20 years after the originally planned start date of 1993. By the time the mine opened, the capital cost of building the mine had increased by 49 percent, and the company had reduced planned gold production by nearly a third, to focus mining operations on the most profitable part of the deposit only.

Twin Metals Minnesota

is still in a relatively early stage of the permitting process, completing a prefeasibility study in 2014. The developers have acknowledged that the delay in receiving permits, or the possibility of denial, could be a significant business risk to the project.

Another article from NMA, contains comments by Harry Moser, founder and president of the Reshoring Initiative, a program committed to bringing manufacturing back to American soil to accelerate job growth and support a stronger economy here at home.

Moser notes:

“Every manufacturing operation in the U.S. uses minerals—either as the material that they’re producing or the tools they use to produce the material.” As the U.S. manufacturing sector grows, so does the demand for more minerals, and to keep American manufacturing growing it’s important that the U.S. has a secure, stable and reliable mineral supply in place so manufacturers can obtain the minerals they need when they need them.

“My goal is to balance the trade deficit,” Moser adds, “To bring back $500 to $600 billion dollars a year worth of manufacturing. That will increase U.S. manufacturing by 30 percent, which will require about 30 percent more minerals.”

The House Committee on Natural Resources is holding hearings on the “National Strategic Critical Minerals Production Act of 2015.” This bill aims to modernize the current U.S. mine permitting process by improving access to the trillions of dollars worth of mineral reserves, which will boost domestic manufacturing and the American economy.

It’s about time.

Related articles:

How NEPA crushes productivity

Pima County versus Rosemont

Jaguars versus the Rosemont mine

Rosemont and the Cuckoo scam

And, by David Briggs:

Congressman Grijalva Attempts To Undermine Our Economy And National Security

Resolution Copper-Setting the Record Straight about Oak Flat

America’s mining industry is vital to our economic and national security

 

National Security and productivity depend on access to minerals

Hal Quinn, president of the National Mining Association, points out in an editorial in The Hill that “The U.S. Department of Defense uses 750,000 tons of minerals each year in technologies that protect the very troops that protect our nation. Metals such as copper, lead and nickel are used in military gear, weapon systems and other defense technologies. Additionally, the mineral beryllium is used to reduce weight and improve guidance performance in fighter jets and NASA technologies such as the mirrors on the James Webb Space Telescope. But despite the strategic importance of minerals and metals to our national security, the United States ranks behind China, Russia, Chile and South Africa in terms of production. Furthermore, we remain completely import-dependent for 19 key minerals resources and more than 50 percent import-dependent for an additional 24 mineral commodities, which subjects supply chains to geopolitical instability and supply disruption.”

The US is blessed with abundant mineral resources but politics are, in many cases blocking to delaying productive use of those resources.

Quinn laments that “duplicative, inefficient permitting process wraps our domestic mineral development in endless red tape, stifling investment in new and existing mines in the United States.” Much of this delay is due to lawsuits by radical environmentalists. In the US, mining permits can take upwards of seven to 10 years, compared with countries such as Canada and Australia, whose modern minerals policies enable them to complete the process in two to three years, giving them a decided advantage over the United States.

The National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2015 introduced in the House of Representatives and the American Mineral Security Act of 2015 introduced in the Senate aim to remedy the situation and “modernize the current U.S. mining permitting process and allow for access to the trillions of dollars worth of resources we have here at home.”

These bills deserve bipartisan support.

See also:

How NEPA crushes productivity

Mining and the bureaucracy